Maceió Dutch Case

Have you been affected by the salt mining activities undertaken by Braskem in Maceió, and/or by its consequences? You could be eligible for compensation.

Maceió Dutch Case

Have you been affected by the oil spill originating from La Pampilla refinery?
You could be eligible for compensation.

Who Can Claim?

Who Can Claim?

Individuals, businesses, utility companies and faith-based institutions may be eligible to participate in the Maceió Dutch Case. They/you may be entitled to claim compensation against Braskem in the Dutch Court, if they/you:

  • live (or were living in December 2020) in one of the following neighbourhoods – Pitanguinha, Canaã, Chã da Jaqueira, Chã de Bebedouro, Gruta de Lourdes, Santo Amaro.
  • live (or were living in December 2020) in parts of Bebedouro, Bom Parto, Farol and Pinheiro not encompassed by the Alagoas Civil Defence’s “Damages Sectorisation Map/Risk Area Map”, thus were excluded from the Financial Compensation Programme “PCF“;
  • you have been affected by consequences caused by the rock salt mining activities carried out by the Braskem in Maceió (including but not limited to the soil subsidence and the adverse impact on socio-economic conditions due to amongst other things the evacuation of the Risk Areas).

WHAT IS THE CASE ABOUT?

WHAT IS THE CASE ABOUT?

Braskem has mined rock salt in the municipality of Maceió (Alagoas State) in Brazil for years. These rock salt mining activities have led to a socio-environmental disaster as they resulted in major damage in the State of Alagoas, notably in the Municipality of Maceió, and to a great number of its residents, businesses, and other entities, such as faith-based institutions. As a result, several neighbourhoods of Maceió have become uninhabitable, residents have had to vacate their homes, and businesses and faith-based entities were adversely affected.

The SGB/CPRM (Geological Service of Brazil – the public body that regulates mining activities in Brazil) released a report in 2019 stating that the soil subsidence was caused by Braskem due to its decades of mining activities. Subsequently, the Alagoas Civil Defence released a Damages Sectorisation Map/Risk Area Map, determining the risk areas which needed to be evacuated. The following neighbourhoods were designated as risk areas: the entirety of Mutange and parts of the neighbourhoods of Pinheiro, Bebedouro, Bom Parto and Farol (“Risk Areas”). However, residents and entities located outside of the Risk Areas (notably in Pitanguinha, Canaã, Chã de Jaqueira, Chã de Bebedouro, Gruta de Lourdes and Santo Amaro) have reportedly also suffered damages as a result of Braskem’s rock salt mining activities. Some of the damages that have been reported are: socioeconomic isolation, increase in violence, change of urban mobility, change in the real estate value of their properties, amongst other damages.

Stichting Environment and Fundamental Rights (SEFR) is preparing a case on behalf of affected parties who want to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of Braskem’s mining activities in Maceió.

What types of damages can be claimed?

What types of damages can be claimed?

In general, affected parties may be able to claim compensation for all damages (material and/or moral) they have suffered as a result of the socio-environmental disaster caused by Braskem’s salt mining activities. Examples of these types of damages are:

  • damages to (real estate) property (e.g. cracks in houses and buildings);
  • medical costs (e.g. for exams, medication, psychological treatment, etc.);
  • increased housing costs (due to relocation);
  • loss of profits by owners of local businesses;
  • moral damage to reputation; and
  • forced displacement of families (family nucleus separation).
  • Reduced access to medical, educational, cultural or religious facilities, institutions and/or services.
  • Other negative impacts cause by Braskem’s Mining Activities in Maceió.

It should be noted, however, that each individual claim requires an individual assessment of the damages suffered, as well as the possibility of compensation for said damages. For this reason, it is essential that you submit all evidence you have (bills, notes of costs, receipts, photos etc).

How do I become part of the claim?

How do I become part of the claim?

The claim is intended to be brought in the Netherlands by us, Stichting Environment and Fundamental Rights (SEFR). SEFR is a non-profit foundation incorporated in the Netherlands. Its purpose is to represent the interests of people who have been negatively affected by the activities of corporations, including activities that cause environmental damage or infringe human rights. SEFR aims to hold those corporations accountable for their actions.

If you wish to join the claim, you will need to visit one of our walk-in centres to find out more from our friendly local team: 

    • Av. Fernandes Lima, 3472, Gruta de Lourdes

They will be able to answer any questions and help you join the claim. 

If you wish to participate in the claim, you will need to assign your claim for damages to SEFR through an agreement with SEFR. In addition, you will need to provide all relevant information in relation to your situation and your damages to SEFR through a questionnaire. Assigning your claim will allow SEFR to then bring the claim in its own name, but for your benefit. It is important to note that after you have assigned your claim, you will no longer be able to bring or settle your claims yourself. Only SEFR can do this for you.

SEFR intends to initiate legal proceedings against Braskem to hold Braskem accountable. In addition, SEFR will attempt to negotiate a settlement for the benefit of all participants. To this end, SEFR will instruct lawyers and experts. Once you have assigned your claim and completed the questionnaire, you do not need to take any immediate further steps. SEFR will inform you on the status of the proceedings and contact you if further input is required to progress the case.

What are the costs for joining the claim?

What are the costs for joining the claim?

The claim will be externally funded. The case will be brought on a no-win-no-fee basis, meaning SEFR will not charge you any money in advance for participating in the claim. SEFR will also never recommend that any lawyer or expert charge you any money upfront. You will only owe a fee to SEFR in case SEFR succeeds in obtaining compensation for you. In case the claim is successful (i.e. in case SEFR wins the lawsuit or settles the claim), 30% of the compensation you are entitled to will be withheld by SEFR. This fee will be deducted from the compensation amount that SEFR has obtained for you. SEFR will use this fee to pay the funder. SEFR will not make profit.

In case the lawsuit is lost or discontinued by SEFR, and the claim is not settled, SEFR will not charge you any costs.

POGUST GOODHEAD

POGUST GOODHEAD

Pogust Goodhead is a unique international collaboration between British, American, Brazilian and Dutch lawyers and other professionals, with expertise in the managing of large-scale group litigation against companies for damages caused by their corporate activities (amongst other things).

For this case, the Stichting Environment and Fundamental Rights has engaged Pogust Goodhead NL as their Dutch counsel to bring the proceedings before the Dutch courts.

LEMSTRA VAN DER KORST

LEMSTRA VAN DER KORST

In addition to Pogust Goodhead in the Netherlands, SEFR has engaged Lemstra Van der Korst NV. Lemstra Van der Korst is a Dutch law firm acting as SEFR’s attorney on various legal matters, including: (i) entering into negotiations and preparing litigation against Braskem, (ii) possibly entering into (collective) settlement negotiations with these entities, and (iii) conducting (collective) proceedings against Braskem. Lemstra Van der Korst  specialises in – among other things – collective action law. Lemstra Van der Korst’s lawyers have decades of experience in conducting collective actions in the Netherlands.

FAQs:

Depending on the terms of the agreement under which you obtained (partial) compensation, it may be possible to participate in SEFR’s claim. However, the validity and consequences of signing an agreement with SEFR when you have already settled your case with Braskem, received (or agreed to receive) partial compensation cannot be assessed by SEFR at this stage. Affected parties must seek advice from their independent Brazilian legal counsel before agreeing to participate in SEFR’s claim. SEFR cannot guarantee that their claim will be successful, nor that you will ultimately receive any compensation.

Yes, you can participate in the claim if you have suffered any damages for which you have not already received compensation.

As part of the questionnaire, we will ask you to provide us with several documents. These documents include the following:

  1. Document containing your CPF number and photo (or copy);
  2. Proof of residence or copy (a declaration is sufficient if there is no other form of proof);
  3. Proof of residence located in an affected neighbourhood;
  4. To the extent possible, any documents that can prove any loss you have suffered due to the socio-environmental disaster caused by Braskem’s rock salt mining activities in Maceió (medical certificates, bills, receipts or anything evidencing your damages).
  5. If you represent a business or another person, a copy of the document authorizing you to represent them (such as a power of attorney, bylaws of a company or a child’s birth certificate, depending on who you represent).

Which documents you will need to provide specifically depends on your answers in the questionnaire, including relating to the types of damages you would like to claim. SEFR will not retain your original documents, but might ask to make copies of them, with your authorisation.

If you assign your claim to SEFR and you participate in the claim, and the case (including the follow-on proceedings) has been resolved successfully, you will receive the relevant compensation after the case is concluded – be it by a final and irrevocable court decision or by a settlement with Braskem.

It is not possible to determine how much each client will get at this stage. In the context of a favourable final and irrevocable judgment, the Dutch court will analyse the evidence and the valuation of the losses of each claimant. As everybody’s claim is different, the amount awarded will depend on each person’s individual circumstances. In the context of a settlement with Braskem directly, we will seek to negotiate a level of compensation which (in SEFR’s sole discretion) accurately represents the harm caused by Braskem’s salt-mining activities. In any case, we are determined to ensure you will receive the highest possible compensation. Nonetheless, despite our best efforts, it cannot be guaranteed that any compensation will ultimately be obtained.

You can claim for any damages you suffered, including personal loss (such as damage to your mental or physical health), increased expenses, loss or devaluation of property, loss of income and moral damages. We will ask you about all of these types of losses in the questionnaire.

Stichting Environment and Fundamental Rights (SEFR) is a non-profit foundation based in the Netherlands. Its purpose is to represent the interests of people who have been negatively affected by the activities of corporations, including activities that cause environmental damage or infringe human rights. As a foundation, SEFR does not have shareholders or members. It is a legal entity that is managed by a  board of directors, which is supervised by a supervisory board. The members of the (supervisory) board have  extensive experience in the fields of (international) litigation, personal injury law, environmental law, human rights and finance. The board of directors is supervised by a supervisory board, consisting of experts in the same fields.

SEFR does not have a profit motive and will therefore not make a profit from this case. Instead, the directors receive only a compensation for their services based on their time spent and the supervisory directors receive a fixed compensation for their services.

 

You do not need to pay SEFR any money upfront. SEFR will only charge a fee of 30% of any compensation, SEFR may achieve for you (by way of court judgment or settlement). SEFR will deduct this fee from the compensation it will pay you. SEFR will not charge you any fee in case the claim is not successful.

SEFR will incur costs for bringing the claim. These costs include instructing lawyers, managing the case and obtaining evidence, such as by instructing experts and making visits to the affected area. This funder will pay these costs. In case of success the 30% deduction of the obtained compensation serves to pay the funder.

Assigning your claim to SEFR means that you legally transfer your claim to SEFR. This means that SEFR will be the legal owner of the claim. This is necessary to enable SEFR to bring all claims collectively in one case. Of course, assigning your claim will be under the condition that you are entitled to payment in case SEFR is successful in obtaining compensation. In other words, the assignment is a legal tool that allows SEFR to represent you by bringing a claim on your behalf.

After assigning your claim, you can no longer bring proceedings against or negotiate a settlement with Braskem in relation to the mining disaster yourself. SEFR will do this for you.

You will regain your right to bring the claim yourself if:

  • if an irrevocable decision has been obtained and no compensation has been awarded;
  • SEFR decides, for whatever reason, to no longer pursue the claim;
  • you decide to withdraw from the claim within 10 days of signing the agreement; or
  • the agreement is otherwise terminated according to its provisions.

In all other cases, solely SEFR will be able to pursue your claim (for your benefit, of course).

SEFR will give you regular updates on the progress of your claim. You will be informed if and when you are joined to the claim and you will be updated on the progress of your claim. SEFR may do this through electronic communication (such as WhatsApp or e-mail) or physical mail.

Because joining the claim involves assigning your claim to SEFR, you cannot both join the claim and bring proceedings against Braskem (yourself) in relation to Braskem’s mining activities. You should consult with a lawyer of your trust  about your options.

In principle, you will not need to attend a hearing in the Netherlands. However, it is possible that the judge would like to hear witnesses and that some of the victims will be called to testify. This would likely be only a small number of people. In addition, SEFR may decide to invite a number of the victims to attend a hearing to tell the court about the effects of the socio-environmental Disaster in Maceió.

CONTACT

For more information please contact one of our official partners: