Pogust Goodhead visits Mariana claimants in Brazil

November 1, 2023

Last month, the Pogust Goodhead team travelled across Brazil to meet with thousands of individuals, businesses and indigenous communities affected by the Mariana dam disaster.

The Caravan of the English Case 

Vast areas along the River Doce continue to be impacted by the 2015 Mariana dam disaster, described as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil’s history. The tragedy triggered one of the biggest legal claims ever filed in the Courts of England and Wales, in which we are representing more than 700,000 people. 

To ensure our clients are kept up to date and that they receive answers to their questions, our CEO and Global Managing Partner Tom Goodhead met with victims across the affected regions. 

“What this case is about is the principle that ordinary people should not have to cower to the might of large corporations. That regular citizens have the right to challenge corporate greed and have their rights, and the rights of their land, respected.” 

Accompanying Tom, Pogust Goodhead Partners Céline Barnwell and Guy Robson embarked on the trip dubbed ‘Caravana do Caso Inglês Mariana’ in Portuguese, to speak about the claim against BHP and Vale. 

Media Coverage 

On 4 October we met with 10 reporters from various media outlets in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo who have followed the case closely for the past eight years and continue to share the stories of those affected. 

Articles in Portuguese:

Events in Barra Longa and Mariana 

The group moved on to Barra Longa and Mariana where the team met with over 900 people involved in the case. 

The event in Mariana began with a performance by the Vila Santa Efigênia Quilombola community, who are also plaintiffs in the English claim. 

The attendees spoke about the next steps for the claim and discussed the High Court ruling in August 2023, in which Vale lost its bid to block BHP’s request to share any potential liability in the Mariana dam disaster claim.

Tom assured clients: “BHP has spent eight years in denial, hiding from their responsibility. But we know that the tide is turning. We are confident that the court’s decision is a sign of a shift – and we’re ready to hold them to their word.” 

Governador Valadares and meeting with the Krenak Community 

The following day, we held an event in Governador Valadares, attended by around 350 clients, and indigenous people from the Pataxó ethnic group opened the event with a traditional performance. 

On 8 October, we visited the Krenak community in Resplendor, Minas Gerais, to reiterate our commitment to delivering justice.  

“In this case, we are stronger together…together, we will succeed in our mission to hold BHP to account for their crimes.”- Tom Goodhead 

Eight years on from the disaster, the voices and stories of the people affected are more important than ever, and we vow to continue fighting for justice until the end. 

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