Rana Plaza victims sue retailers, government in US court
Wal-Mart, JC Penney, The Children's Place and the government of Bangladesh have been sued by the victims and the families of the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse. The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Washington, claims the retailers and the government were aware of the unsafe working conditions.
When the eight-story building collapsed on April 24 two years ago, over 1,100 people were killed and about 2,515 people were injured.
“Defendants knew, or with the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known, that the Rana Plaza facility was not safe for human habitation,” said the lawsuit filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday.
The Bangladesh government breached its duty to its citizens by failing to properly inspect the building, failing to ensure compliance with local construction standards and failing to ensure the safety of factory workers, the lawsuit states.
Retail defendants breached their duty to workers in the building by failing to implement standards and oversight mechanisms designed to ensure the health and safety of workers who manufactured clothing for their stores, it added. According to the complaint, the retailers profit from the system of sourcing through subcontractors.
“Although retailer defendants, and other Western buyers, contain strong language in their public policies against non-transparent subcontracting, factory owners report that many buyers turn a blind eye to the subcontracting practice.”
The day before the collapse, cracks were found in the building and an engineer declared the building unsafe. “Since it's a pending legal matter, we're going to decline the opportunity to comment,” said JC Penney spokeswoman Daphne Avila.