What happens when tens of thousands of impoverished Africans sue one of Britain's biggest oil companies for sickening them with toxic waste?
In 2006, the British company Trafigura unloaded a ship full of untreated chemical slop at a household garbage dump in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Scores of people living nearby were diagnosed with poisoning, hundreds lost their livelihoods as trash-scavengers, and 17 died. Now, 30,000 residents are suing the oil trading company for exposing them to toxic sludge. The company paid for a clean-up and admitted to "neglecting its duty of care," but has denied responsibility for the poisonings. The trial starts this fall.
Al Jazeera chronicles this David-versus-Goliath tale of Britain's biggest-ever lawsuit in the first installment of Corporations on Trial, which covers five lawsuits that pit ordinary people against the world's most powerful and wealthy corporations.
The other shows are just as compelling: Yesterday, the program aired the story of why Native American villagers in Alaska are suing Exxon Mobil. Next week, learn why 40,000 Indonesians who fled their homes after a volcanic eruption blame a gas company for their troubles.