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(首例对三鹿控诉已提交)First suit filed against Sanlu

 

Sanlu Group, the dairy giant at the center of the tainted milk powder scandal(丑闻), might face its first lawsuit from victims, as a local court in Central 中国's Henan province will determine weather or not it will accept the first filed(申请)case within the week.


 

"The court will mail the reply to us within a couple of days, and we are supposed to receive it soon," Lawyer Ji Cheng with Beijing-based Deheng Law Firm told 中国 Daily Monday.

 

Ji and a colleague filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer on Sept 22 on behalf of the parents of a 1-year-old boy from Zhenping county of Henan province who was allegedly(据说) sickened by tainted milk powder.

 

Ji declined to disclose the clients' names.

 

The attorney said the parents claim the boy developed kidney(肾) stones from drinking Sanlu, and that they had more than 90 empty bags of Sanlu milk powder their son had consumed as proof.

He said they are seeking compensation of at least 150,000 yuan ($21,900) to cover hospital fees, travel expenses, time off from work and other costs.

 

"As the child is still hospitalized(在救治中), we will revise(修改)the compensation to befit (适应)increasing medical fees and other costs," Ji said.

 

Ji was among more than 124 lawyers from 22 provinces and municipalities(市政当局)who have taken up the cause of milk powder victims on a pro bono basis since Sept 15.

 

On Sept 24, the lawyers suggested establishing a special fund for the victims, according to an announcement on news.163.com.

 

They called on the 中国 Consumers' Association to join in and talk to responsible milk producers to develop a package compensation plan for victims.

 

Lawyers also suggested the Ministry of Health establish a database to track the health of victims' babies, said Chang Boyang, another volunteer lawyer from Henan-based Yatairen Law Firm.

 

"What if the kidney stones later cause other health problems?" Chang asked.

 

They also advised judicial(部门)departments to consider class action lawsuits against responsible enterprises.

 

So far, neither the health ministry nor the consumers' association has replied, Chang said.

 

In addition to Ji's clients, some other milk powder victims are also filing lawsuits nationwide.

Liu Junhai, a law professor with Renmin University of 中国, said the case involves a huge number of people, and public awareness about protecting citizens' rights and interests is greater than before.

 

"Individual lawsuits can achieve justice for some, but more will choose to give up on the lawsuits because of high costs or other reasons. These people will have no way of letting out their bitter feelings," Nanfang Weekend quoted Liu as saying Monday.

 

Individual lawsuits will also waste judiciary(司法的)resources and will likely take a long time to resolve.

 

Ji learned from relevant departments that it is very likely the government will announce a unified (统一的)compensation plan but added the date was yet unknown.

 

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