According to analysts, the US bill to China for wrong actions at the initial stage of the epidemic could be $ 1.2 trillion.
In less than a month, more than 5,000 US citizens have joined a class action lawsuit filed in Florida, the authors of which are demanding compensation from the Chinese government for damage caused by COVID-19. Plaintiffs claim they suffered huge losses due to Beijing’s negligence in allowing the spread of the coronavirus around the world. Similar class actions have also been filed in courts in Nevada and Texas..
“Our lawsuit concerns those physically harmed by the virus … it also concerns China’s commercial activities related to trading in markets where bushmeat is sold,” law firm Berman Law Group told Voice of America..
Lawyers cite the “business” and “personal injury” exceptions under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act [FSIA] as legal basis for suing China.
The Henry Jackson Society, a British conservative think tank, estimates that a potential US lawsuit against China for coronavirus damages could be $ 1.2 trillion. In a new report, British analysts wrote that China is potentially responsible for the damage caused by mishandling early in the coronavirus outbreak. We are talking, in particular, about the deliberate concealment of information from the World Health Organization: analysts call this a violation of the International Health Regulations..
The Henry Jackson Society urges countries to sue China with 10 different legal avenues, including WHO, International Court of Justice, Permanent Court of Arbitration, courts in Hong Kong and the United States.
“Not just using one, but using a combination of legal paths may be the most effective course of action,” Andrew Foxall, director of research for the Henry Jackson Society and co-author of the report, told Voice of America..
However, according to lawyer David Fiedler of the University of Washington in St. Louis, states, including the United States, are unlikely to file formal claims against China in connection with the coronavirus pandemic..
In the history of international law, the responsibility of the authorities of one state for damage caused to another country was first recognized in an arbitration court in the 1920s. A Canadian metallurgical plant operating in British Columbia emitted toxic fumes, damaging forests and crops in the surrounding areas of Canada, as well as in the US state of Washington. Canada and the United States set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute, with the result that Canada agreed to pay the United States compensation for the plant’s damage. Lawyers draw parallels with China’s responsibility for failing to contain the epidemic domestically.
“If Canada had adequate environmental laws at the time, the steel plant would not pollute the atmosphere and harm the United States. If China maintained an adequate food safety regulatory regime, the spread of harm could be avoided, ”said Russell Miller, professor of law at the University of Washington..
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William Starshak, a Chicago-based financial lawyer, believes it is in China’s best interest to take responsibility in this case, as Canada did a century ago..
“This will actually help China to show responsibility … to collect all these claims, of which there will be a great many, and which will have all sorts of geopolitical consequences … This is really the only way that China can get out of this situation,” Starshak said..
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