Italian shipping agents who say their business has been affected by a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa are taking legal advice and considering whether to sue toll-road operator Atlantia, if the group is found responsible.
The government has blamed an Atlantia unit, which operated the viaduct that collapsed killing 43 people on Aug. 14, for the disaster.
The shippers are also looking into lawsuits against the government if the transport ministry is held responsible. The government denies responsibility. Spediporto, which represents about 330 shipping agents in Genoa, says trucks are forced to take lengthy detours to and from the port since the collapse of the viaduct, which formed part of a motorway linking the city and its port with southern France.
“We have already contacted our legal advisers over the possibility of a collective lawsuit and we will take a final decision in the coming months when we have collected more data over the financial impact of the disaster,” Spediporto director general Giampaolo Botta told Reuters.
The Genoa Chamber of Commerce estimates more than 14,500 businesses were impacted when a 200-metre (660-ft) section of the viaduct collapsed, including the container port which generates around 1.5 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product. It has started asking firms across the city to estimate the impact of higher transport costs arising from road detours and port delays. So far, it has spoken to 1,400 firms, said spokeswoman Anna Galleano.
Any civil suit would have to wait until prosecutors wrapped up their investigation and could also be aimed at the transport ministry, if it was found to be culpable in its role as supervisor of safety on toll roads, said lawyer Lucio Galino.
Under the Italian law, if prosecutors took Atlantia or the transport ministry to trial, businesses could file for damages with the same court. The trial judge could at the time of sentencing award provisional damages to those businesses.
Reuters via Euronews