Court sets Canada as jurisdiction for Guatemalan suit against Tahoe – by Susan Taylor (Thomson Reuters Foundation – January 26, 2017)

TORONTO, Jan 26 (Reuters) – A Canadian court ruled on Thursday that a lawsuit against Tahoe Resources Inc by Guatemalan men claiming they were shot by the miner’s private security guards can proceed in British Columbia, according to a copy of the judgment seen by Reuters.

The decision by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, which reverses a 2015 B.C. Supreme Court ruling, said that Vancouver-based Tahoe had not proven Guatemala was a more appropriate forum for the case. The case is being closely watched by Canadian miners that operate abroad because it could increase litigation risk.

Seven Guatemalan men allege in a civil lawsuit that security personnel hired by Tahoe opened fire on them in April 2013 during a protest outside the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala. The men say they were injured during the shooting as they attempted to flee.

The men, whose suit was filed in June 2014, are seeking unspecified punitive and compensation damages against Tahoe.

Two other miners are facing legal challenges in Canadian courts. A suit against Nevsun Resources, by Eritreans who say they were forced to work at the company’s Bisha mine, is proceeding in B.C. and three lawsuits against HudBay Minerals alleging abuses in Guatemala are moving to trial in Toronto.

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