A JUDGE in Delaware has dismissed a lawsuit filed against three major U.S. clothing retailers following the massive collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, where over 1,100 people died in 2013.
The lawsuit was filed last year by an injured worker and a man who lost his wife during the collapse, claiming the companies involved failed to ensure safe working conditions at the Rana Plaza complex.
The U.S. retailers named in the lawsuit are Wal-Mart Stores, J.C. Penney, and the Children’s Place.
The judge ruled in the defendant’s favor, who said that the lawsuit was filed too late, as it came after the one-year deadline under applicable Bangladeshi law had expired.
She also agreed with the defendants that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the companies owed a duty of care to the workers, who were directly employed by the garment factory, not the retailers.
Wal-Mart and JC Penney are both founding members of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, organized in 2013 to hold members accountable for operating “workplaces that are safe and effective in ensuring building and fire safety”.
Both companies have issued statements saying they did not have production or suppliers at Rana Plaza during the time of the tragedy.
The Children’s Place is also a member of the alliance, and contributed $2m to a fund for victims of the collapse.
Bangladesh’s textile and clothing factory is one of the driving forces in its rapidly developing economy, but the industry is riddled with issues pertaining towards workers’ rights.
In November 2013, thousands of garment workers stormed through two industrial towns in Bangladesh to protest over wages.
Dozens of people were injured during the violence that ensued between protesters and the police, who fired tear gas and deployed paramilitary border guards to quell the rage.
Additional reporting at Associated Press