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European tsunami victims file US lawsuit

[JURIST] Some 60 European survivors and relatives of victims of the December 26 South Asia tsunami [JURIST Hot Topic news archive] led by controversial personal injury lawyer Edward Fagan [NYLJ report] formally filed suit in New York Friday against the Thai government, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA; Indian Ocean tsunami warnings timeline) and French-owned hotel chain Sofitel [corporate website; tsunami-related news and updates]. The action, anticipated in February [JURIST report] is believed to be the first major legal claim advanced in connection with the disaster, which claimed over 200,000 lives. The complaint accuses the defendants of failing to provide adequate warning of the tidal and failing to repatriate victims bodies in timely manner. No compensation is sought, but the plaintiffs ask for proof that the parties discharged their legal responsibilities. Sofitel, which owns an "Accor" hotel in Khao Lak, Thailand, has said that "The allegations concerning Accor are completely unfounded"; a count provided by Accor on March 1 reported that 300 out of a total 466 guests at the Accor property at Khao Lak survived the tsunami, which also left 54 of Accor's 395 local employees dead or missing. AAP has more.

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