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Proposed class action targets Loblaws over Bangladesh factory collapse

Lawsuit on behalf of survivors of building collapse wants $2 billion

A Toronto law firm has launched a proposed class-action lawsuit worth $2 billion against Loblaw and its Joe Fresh clothing line over the collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 people.

The lawsuit filed by the Rochon Genova firm is being launched on behalf of those who survived the collapse of the Rana Plaza and the estates and dependants of those who died in the building.

A statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court notes that many of the Joe Fresh clothing line garments were made in the Rana Plaza factory, which was operated by Loblaw’s Bangladeshi subcontractors.

The statement of claim alleges Loblaw knew before the collapse that Bangladesh factories had ``an extremely poor record'' of workplace safety standards and industrial building standards.

It alleges that Loblaw was aware there was a ``significant and specific risk'' to workers who manufactured Joe Fresh garments and who were employed by their subcontractors in Bangladesh.

A spokesman for Loblaw says the claim is ``without merit'' and adds that the company plans to ``vigorously defend'' itself.

A similar lawsuit was filed in the Washington D.C. against Walmart, The Children’s Place and J.C. Penney, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

Rana Plaza was outside the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, and housed five garment factories when it collapsed in 2013, killing 1,127 people and injuring about 2,500.

The incident is considered Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster.

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