2,000 people join class action lawsuit against Tata Steel
About 2,000 people living in the vicinity of Tata Steel in IJmuiden have registered with the Frissewind.nu foundation to join the class action against the company. The first legal steps have thus been taken and those affected are aware that it is not possible to negotiate with Tata Steel outside the court, AD reports.
The class action lawsuit is the result of a long dispute with Tata Steel and its part in the health hazards in the residential area. However, according to the latest RIVM report, the outcome is clear: there is a causal link between the substances released by Tata Steel into the environment and the increased risk of cancer and other diseases that have since become more common in the area around the company.
In this regard, the report confirmed the suspicions that have long prevailed among residents. Namely, that Tata Steel costs lives. In the nearest village of Wijk aan Zee alone, four percent of residents are affected by cancer and lose an average of 2.5 months of their lives to the substances exposed by the steel company.
For John Beer, who is the personal injury lawyer and board member of residents' group Frissewind.nu, the latest RIVM report is supportive. Even if not much new information came out of it. But it is important for the people in the region to have these events documented, he says. "The realization that this company actually took the life of a loved one. Over the years, for all kinds of social reasons, it hasn't always been easy to admit that and to allow that realization. That's why it's important that RIVM has now come to these conclusions," he told AD.
The lawyer will sit down with Tata Steel during the fall and start negotiations. Initially out of court. "Because that is what the law says: you must first reach an agreement with the other party,” Beer explained. Even though he will soon be talking with Tata Steel, “we are not naive in thinking that we will be able to achieve this outside the court," he stressed.
The powerful steel company is said to have known about its harmful, carcinogenic substances as early as the mid-1970s. For Tata Steel, this is merely a historical fact, Beer said.
Nevertheless, the people joining the class action still have a long way to go to obtain compensation. This is because the first step is for Tata Steel to first admit its guilt, whether out of court or not. After that, the extent of the damage must be assessed and calculated for each individual, according to the newspaper.
"I don't know how many more people will join and what will happen again tomorrow. But we will proceed step by step," Beer emphasized.