Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First lawsuit against Sanlu for tainted milk

So reports the Beijing Youth Daily here; Bloomberg Wall Street Journal report in English here.

Pertinent facts: the victim, a 1-year-old boy, is currently hospitalized in Beijing. (It's not clear where his residence is.) The lawsuit, which seeks damages of 150,000 yuan, has been filed in the place of the victim's birth, Zhenping county in Henan province. Despite efforts to discourage lawyers from taking these cases, the victim is represented by a Beijing lawyer. Technically, the father appears to be a plaintiff as well, since the requested damages include an amount for lost working time, presumably attributable to the father's having to take time off work to care for his son, collect evidence for the suit, etc.

According to the report, the father first sought compensation directly from Sanlu but was turned away with the statement that "按照上级精神,目前对于结石患儿,只由政府先垫付医疗费用,关于赔偿问题三鹿方面还没有具体方案" ("In accordance with the spirit of higher-level [policy], children suffering from kidney stones can only first get reimbursement from the government for hospitalization expenses; as for the issue of compensation, Sanlu doesn't yet have a specific program").

Interestingly, although the Zhenping county court has not yet formally accepted the case, it did formally acknowledge receipt of the complaint. (Courts will sometimes refuse even to look at the papers in a hot-potato case.) Perhaps the plaintiff was wise to sue in his home territory.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/china_law_prof_blog/2008/10/first-lawsuit-a.html

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