One of the Netherlands’ best-known personal injury lawyers, John Beer, will join the fight against steel manufacturer Tata Steel. “We are going to break through that excuse story from Tata that the damage they cause ‘is not only due to them’.”
Beer will take a seat on the board of the FrissenWind.nu foundation, which has been fighting against Tata Steel for years. The illustrious steel manufacturer in Wijk aan Zee has been discredited for years because it would seriously affect the health of the people in the IJmond area.
Nouri and fireworks disaster
Beer is known for several major personal injury cases. Two of them stand out: he assisted the victims of the fireworks disaster in Enschede and he assisted the family of former Ajax player Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a match in 2017 and was not adequately helped.
Beer will not work as a lawyer for FrisseWind.nu, but he will shape the structure of the mass claim that the foundation is working on. The big question that Beer will be addressing is the causal link between Tata Steel’s emissions and the health of the people in the area.
It has often been shown that this health is less. “But Tata Steel constantly says that it is not certain that this is only due to them, that there may also be other reasons. It has been that way for a long time and we are going to break that,” says Beer to this site. “We once had a case against a manufacturer of a drug that increased the risk of a heart attack. In addition, they managed to turn the case in such a way that it was not the people who had had a heart attack that had to prove that this was due to that medicine, but that the manufacturer had to prove that this was not the case. That is the direction I want to go with the Tata case. They just have to prove that the damage to the health of the local residents is not caused by the steel factory.”
‘Unwanted for children’
Last week, RIVM released yet another report showing that the dust that settles in the area is contaminated. The concentrations of metals and so-called PAHs that are measured remain ‘undesirable for the health of children’, the institute reiterated. Local residents are despondent because – despite Tata’s improvement plans – very little change is in sight in the short term. State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen (Infrastructure and Water Management) believes that Tata Steel must ‘really work’ to reduce the emission of harmful substances. She is disappointed with ‘how long it takes to get results’.
In addition to the mass claim, there is still an ongoing investigation into criminal offenses committed by Tata Steel for deliberately polluting the soil, air and surface water in the area. Lawyer Bénédicte Ficq does that case.
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