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Old 02-15-2005, 06:02 AM   #1
The Undead Shaman
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Default Here come the lawyers here come the lawyers

It was only a matter of time before the leeches got their scaly hands on this one.

Tsunami victims to sue French hotel chain Accor, Thai govt, US authorities
VIENNA (AFX) - A group of Austrian and German victims of the Asian tsunami disaster are to file a lawsuit demanding that Thailand, French hotel chain Accor (Paris: FR0000120404 - news) and US forecasters prove they reacted adequately to the disaster, their lawyers said.
The suit, naming Accor and the US-run tsunami early warning system in the Pacific as well as Thai authorities, will be filed in a New York district court this week, the lawyers said in Vienna.
'We found that serious lapses were committed,' said Herwig Hasslacher, one of the three lawyers for the group.
They said the suit was not, at present, designed to demand compensation but to uncover evidence that would prove negligence.
The case was presented as the first of its kind arising out of the Dec 26 disaster, when a powerful undersea earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra sent huge waves pounding into coastlines around the Indian Ocean.
Nearly 290,000 people died, including several thousand Western tourists who were holidaying in Indian Ocean resorts, notably in Thailand and Sri Lanka.
The suit will be filed on behalf of 15 Austrian and four German victims of the disaster.
The targets are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington and its Hawaii-based tsunami warning centre; the Accor group of hotels where some of the victims stayed; and the Thai government.
The NOAA is accused of having registered the earthquake but failed to alert Indian Ocean countries of the impending tsunamis as the Hawaii centre covered only the Pacific.
The lawyers said that if the NOAA and Thai authorities, which had their own information, had passed on their alerts in time, it would have enabled people on shorelines to flee inland.
'We have evidence they did not warn us, even though they knew a quarter of an hour later about the strength and location of the quake, and although there is supposed to be a tsunami warning' from 6.5 on the Richter scale, Hasslacher said. The quake measured 9.0.
Accor is named in the lawsuit because the plaintiffs say the chain did not properly inform relatives of the victims after the disaster and had built its Sofitel hotel on the island of Phuket on a quake fracture line.
US lawyer Ed Fagan told the news conference he would ask the US court this week, probably Thursday or Friday, to ensure the preservation of key documents needed for the case, such as satellite imagery and contacts between the NOAA, Thailand and Indonesia.
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:38 AM   #2
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If this gets anywhere, god save us all.
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:43 AM   #3
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If they can afford to have their day in court, let them. Who cares?
"All I said was... that bit of halibut is good enough for Jehovah." óMonty Python's "Life of Brian"
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