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Second lawsuit filed in China over tainted milk crisis

[JURIST] A migrant worker in China's [JURIST news archive] South Guangdong Province filed a lawsuit Friday against Chinese dairy producer Sanlu Group, the company at the heart of the tainted milk crisis [BBC report] which is blamed for four infant deaths and the sickening of more than 54,000 children. According to his lawyer, Zhang Xiuwen filed the suit seeking $132,000 after it was determined that his 11-month old son was suffering from kidney stones. The child had been fed formula made by Sanlu since his birth. It is not clear whether the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court will accept the lawsuit at this point. This is the second lawsuit filed against the dairy producer. The first suit was filed [AP report] earlier this month by a family whose 14-month old son was also diagnosed with kidney stones. It is not clear whether the Zhenping county court will hear that suit, which seeks $22,000 in compensatory damages for medical care the infant received. AP has more.

News of possible milk powder contamination by the chemical melamine first broke in September [Guardian report], following the death of an infant and reports that at least 50 other infants had fallen ill after consuming baby formula, leading to massive recalls [BBC report] of both liquid milk products and milk powders. The death toll soon rose to four, and the number of sick infants in China has since ballooned to at least 53,0000. The State Council of China [official website, in English] has ordered free medical care to be provided for sick infants whose symptoms arose after September 12, when word of contamination first broke and the first milk powder recalls were ordered. The situation has also lead the State Council to issue new regulations [Xinhua report] for dairy products in the country. So far, police have arrested 36 people [Xinhua report] in connection with the scandal. Earlier this week, however, AP reported that lawyers providing free legal advice to parents of sickened children in China have been pressured by Chinese officials [JURIST report] to stop providing legal services.

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