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Ghislenghien widow sues Fluxys

Published on 17/03/2005

17 March 2005

BRUSSELS – The partner of a man who died in the Ghislenghien gas disaster is demanding EUR 100,000 from Belgian gas distributor Fluxys.

Carole Callens lost her common-law husband in the explosion of the gas pipe last July, which killed 24 people and injured 131.

Since she wasn’t married to her partner, she is not eligible for his life insurance.

Her lawyer Jean-Luc Fagnart asked a tribunal to award her some temporary emergency compensation to help her look after her two children and pay her mortgage.

She blames Fluxys, which was responsible for the gas pipe which exploded, for her husband’s death.

However, lawyers for Fluxys argued that awarding even temporary compensation would prejudice the outcome of the overall investigation which is under way to decide what caused the disaster and which, if any, parties are legally responsible.

A report on the causes won’t be finished until the end of this month.

Fagnart argued a tribunal decision wouldn’t compromise the decision of another court and claimed Callens’ precarious financial situation made the compensation urgent.

Andre-Marie Verplaetse, representing Fluxys, said the company had donated EUR 2 million to the Ghislenghien foundation which is offering financial support to victims who did not have insurance.

Lawyer Alain Zenner, also representing the company, also cast doubt on the true financial circumstances of Callens, arguing she was in fact slightly better off than before her partner’s death.

He denied that she has been forced to go out to work after the accident, neglecting her children’s education.

In fact, claimed Zenner, she had worked before her partner’s death, was made redundant and had then found a new job.

The tribunal has adjourned the case until the middle of April.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news