Lithuanian-owned supermarket chain Maxima Latvija has appealed a Riga court ruling which found the company liable for a roof collapse in one of its stores in 2013 that killed 54 people.
Maxima roof collapse in 2013
© RIA/Scanpix

The company's spokesman Janis Beseris said responsibility for the collapse lies with the owner of the building and not Maxima, which rented the property in Zolitude, Riga.

In one of a series of lawsuits brought against Maxima Latvija and Homburg Zolitude, the developer and owner of the building, the Riga court ruled in favour of two claimants demanding €300,000 from the companies.

However, Maxima Latvija insists that the reason of the collapse was the miscalculation of the load the building roof could support.

"Although the court accepts that the reason for the tragedy and the collapse was the miscalculation of the maximum load on the building's roof, it put the blame on the tenant, Maxima Latvija, which had not been involved in the construction at any of the stages. It is absurd that a third party is blamed for mistakes made by a company which is easily identifiable," Beseris told LETA news agency.

Maxima Latvija also argues that although the fire alarm went off several times before the collapse, it was under no obligation to evacuate the supermarket, since inspection revealed no fire or smoke.

The developer of the building in Zolitude was Homburg Zolitude, a company owned by the Netherlands-based investment fund Homburg Eastern Europe Fund B.V.

Fifty-four people were killed, including three rescuers, and dozens were injured when the roof in the Maxima supermarket in Riga collapsed on November 21, 2013.

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