[JURIST] The Xinhua District Court in China Wednesday accepted the first civil suit seeking damages against a dairy company in connection with the contaminated milk scandal [JURIST news archive]. The lawsuit [Xinhua report], which was brought by the family of one of the children who fell ill last year, seeks more than USD $4,500 from the now-bankrupt [JURIST report] Sanlu Group [Research and Markets profile]. The Xinhua District Court is the first court to accept a lawsuit on the scandal since the Chinese courts announced that earlier this month that they would allow [JURIST report] such suits. Prior to the announcement the Chinese government had sponsored a compensation plan [JURIST report] that paid families between USD $290 and $29,000.
Two people were sentenced to death [JURIST report] in January for their roles in the scandal that killed six children and sickened nearly 300,000 others. Earlier that month, lawyers for the families of 213 Chinese children sickened or killed by the contaminated milk petitioned [JURIST report] the Supreme People's Court to hear a class action lawsuit against 22 dairy companies involved in the contamination, seeking more than $5 million in damages. In January, police in China detained five parents [JURIST report] of children who became sick after drinking melamine-tainted milk, preventing the parents from participating in a news conference.