The 3rd Panel of the Superior Court of Justice established that only the Public Defender’s Office of Minas Gerais can verify possible non-compliance with the conduct adjustment agreement (TAC) signed by it with Vale SA, as well as demand its execution. The TAC regulates extrajudicial compensation for those affected by the Brumadinho (MG) dam collapse, which occurred in 2019.
The panel applied the court’s jurisprudence according to which, as a rule, only public bodies authorized to sign the TAC and monitor its compliance can execute it.
In the case under trial, one of the victims filed a lawsuit against Vale to execute the TAC signed with the Minas Gerais Public Defender’s Office and, thus, receive the amount of R$100,000, due to the psychological damage suffered as a result of the tragedy.
The request was rejected in the first instance, but the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro (TJ-RJ) — the state where the action was filed — judged the action to be valid, recognizing the author’s legitimacy to file the execution. For the court, the Public Defender’s Office functioned as a mere procedural substitute for the victims, who would be the real legitimized victims.
To the STJ, the mining company argued, among other points, that the author of the action did not have legitimacy, as she was not part of the legal relationship.
Legitimacy to monitor and execute
Minister Ricardo Villas Bôas Cueva, rapporteur of the appeal at the STJ, recalled that the execution of any agreement presupposes that it has been breached, otherwise there will be no need for it to be demanded in court. “As a rule, those who can answer whether or not the agreement is being fulfilled are the bodies responsible for monitoring its execution.”
The rapporteur pointed to a precedent from the 1st Panel that says that the terms of conduct adjustment “can only be executed by the public bodies competent to enter into them, especially because they are responsible for supervising them”.
According to the minister, the TAC in question deals with an obligation to do, relating to enabling extrajudicial agreements between Vale and victims of material and moral damage resulting from the dam collapse who are interested in this route of conflict resolution and are assisted by the Public Defender’s Office. Public. Compliance with the agreement, he clarified, will be verified in monthly meetings between the signatories.
“Thus, the injured party would not be able to verify non-compliance with the term of commitment, that is, whether Vale SA is attending hearings to formulate agreements with people with powers to sign them, or whether agreements with other victims are complying with to the foreseen financial parameters, not even to demand their compliance”, said the minister.
Cueva found that, although the TAC deals with extrajudicial compensation for victims and their families — homogeneous individual rights that could be enforced by injured people —, it does not deal with the obligation to pay a certain amount, but rather establishes financial parameters for the conclusion of agreements.
“Eventual non-execution of the conduct adjustment term could only be verified by the Public Defender’s Office and would give rise to the execution of an obligation to do so, with the setting of a mandatory fine, in order to once again make it possible to carry out extrajudicial agreements with the assistance of the Public Defender’s Office. within the chosen financial parameters.”
The rapporteur considered that, in this case, as the TAC does not provide for a right held by the author of the action that would have been breached, there is no way to recognize her legitimacy to propose the execution. With information from the STJ press office.