TORONTO, April 22, 2016 /CNW/ - April 24, 2016 marks the third anniversary of the horrific collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh. The largest industrial disaster in history, the collapse killed 1,130 garment workers and left another 2,520 seriously injured. Rana Plaza collapsed due to serious defects in the building structure. Many of the injured required amputations while others are permanently immobilized. Most victims were young women.
It is alleged in court documents that much of the clothing produced in the biggest factory operating at the Rana Plaza was being made for Loblaws' Joe Fresh brand, that the same factory had earlier expanded into illegally constructed floors, and that Loblaws failed to ensure that adequate workplace safety inspections were conducted to protect workers in the Rana Plaza.
Notwithstanding its significant operations and holdings in Ontario, Loblaws is challenging the jurisdiction of the Ontario Court to deal with the claims of the victims and their families against Loblaws.
Rana Plaza was originally a four-story commercial building, but doubled in size through the addition of several allegedly illegally constructed floors required to accommodate increased garment orders. The ninth floor was under construction at the time of the collapse. Over 5,000 garment workers were producing apparel at Rana Plaza for major Western retailers, including the Joe Fresh brand owned by Canada's largest food and clothing retailer, Loblaws.
Rochon Genova LLP, a leading Toronto-based class action firm, is pursuing a proposed class action on behalf of the survivors, the families and estates of the victims of the collapse against Loblaws and the workplace inspection company, Bureau Veritas. The Claim alleges that Loblaws controlled the inspection process and failed to ensure that structural audits were conducted despite the ongoing construction of additional floors.
Joel P. Rochon, one of the lead lawyers on this case, stated: "Ontario is Loblaw's backyard. This is where they earned profits from the clothing produced by 52 factories in Bangladesh, where they controlled the Rana Plaza inspection process, and where they made a number of allegedly negligent audit decisions in regards to the factory safety inspections". He added: "There is no principled basis to challenge Ontario's jurisdiction. Rather, this is the time to enter into a discussion surrounding compensation".
The garment workers and their families are represented by Joel P. Rochon and Peter R. Jervis from Rochon Genova LLP.
SOURCE ROCHON GENOVA LLP
Image with caption: "The Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1,130 people and seriously injuring 2,520 others. (Photo by Ismail Ferdous) (CNW Group/ROCHON GENOVA LLP)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160422_C8443_PHOTO_EN_673335.jpg
Image with caption: "The families of the victims search for their loved ones. (Photo by Ismail Ferdous) (CNW Group/ROCHON GENOVA LLP)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160422_C8443_PHOTO_EN_673337.jpg