Maria Locker stands in the courtroom and lets her gaze roam over those present. She sees the judges, whose displayed indifference makes her shiver. For them and their company, it’s a matter of bare existence right now. She tries to follow the arguments that her lawyer presents in a detailed and polished manner.
How could it have come to this? Yet the whole thing had started so harmlessly, even promisingly. As managing director of a medium-sized plant engineering company, Maria had concluded a multi-million contract for the construction of a turnkey production plant in Asia after tough and time-consuming negotiations. The graduation was celebrated with pomp and glory and was even worthy of a report in the Swiss regional media. Well, you don’t just get a contract worth 50 million as a general contractor, especially not if you’re just a small Swiss player who admittedly has very well-developed know-how. Now Maria, who incidentally had followed in her successful father’s footsteps as the entrepreneur’s heiress, first had reason to cheer. The plant was built in 2 years and handed over ready for use. In the eighth year of operation, part of the production building collapses, 8 employees are seriously injured, the plant is unusable and probably has to be rebuilt. The cause of the collapse is unclear. The operator is suing the JV for damages equal to the value of the plant plus lost profits due to loss of service (approximately $80 million). Don’t worry, the entrepreneur thinks to herself, we have liability insurance. Stupidly, the insurance company refers to the maximum coverage, but primarily to the fact that this is an elementary damage (presumably an earthquake), which is not covered by the insurance anyway. Maria Locker has no choice but to defend herself after being sued by the operator.
Maria is startled out of her daydream. The lawyer, the judges, the experts disappear offstage. Fortunately, the scene in front of the judge is only fiction, but the claim for damages lies lead-heavy on her table. She wants to get a picture of what actually happened.
But how should she proceed? She can’t remember ever having faced a comparable challenge before, but wait…how was that back in the shared apartment?
She flashes back: How did we deal with the problem in the WG back then? What paths have we taken to deal with the poisoning disaster?