– I was angry and cursed. In a way we were friends with them. This is a situation none of us likes,” says Suthi.
On the night of 2 April 2022, the Russian celebration of Bendik Hammer and his friends began. However, on the way home to Egersund, something happened that would claim the lives of many young men.
Russian bus “Fjellstua 2022” caught fire.
All the young men luckily got out of the bus unharmed, but they could do nothing but watch it burn to the ground.
The bus hired by DinBuss AS had a light and sound system.
A facility is not permitted to be insured by a Russian group. Insurance companies do not insure buses or equipment for Russians.
Had to pay for the bus
They have already resold the Russian bus to the next generation. They had to repay this money as there was no bus to hand over.
As a result, the bus was burdened with debt.
However, a meeting with DinBuss after the fire gave the boy peace of mind.
– They were very clear that we would not have millions of loans, Hammer recalled.
But a few weeks later, Hammer received a summons in the mail.
DinBuss, which sub-leased the light and sound system to a Dutch operator, claimed compensation of NOK 1.5 million.
But did it really cost that much?
Hammer filed a counterclaim in which he sought compensation from DinBuss AS. He also claimed to have been absolved of DinBuss’ claim.
Hammer believes the fire was caused by negligence on the part of DinBuss regarding the assembly and installation of the system.
In a ruling, the court demanded that DinBuss submit all contracts, letters and invoices from Agregatparken AS and Rent-All BV.
These are the companies that provide the sound system for Tin Bus.
For DinBuss, two invoices have been submitted, as well as a list with a value overview. These invoices testify to a completely different scale of claims than what the company previously told the media and took as the starting point of the case.
Suddenly, the demand was NOK 400,000 less
In fact, the claim against Hammer was reduced by almost NOK 400,000 after DinBuss was asked to document its own loss.
– That is very sick. They initially considered only one price. Then they missed NOK 400,000. It’s not a small mistake, exactly. And little has changed for the 19-year-old, he says.
Hammer has also requested the appointment of an expert, as the parties strongly disagree about the cause of the fire and other technical matters.
DinBuss denied this. However the Sør-Rogaland District Court upheld Hammer in this case.
A representative of the Directorate for Social Protection and Emergency Preparedness (DSB) enters as an expert.
Officially, DinBuss AS has only sued him. But he has all the boys in the back with him on the Russian bus.
– So if we lose the court case, we split it, he says.
They still don’t know the cause of the fire, and the police dropped the case a month after it happened.
It annoys Hammer a little that they don’t have an answer to what happened.
So, he is glad that the court agreed to appoint an expert who can say something about where the fire started.
Still, Hammer is reasonably optimistic about his case.
– We have both photos and video starting at the back of the bus, where both are total and large parts of DinBuss’ technical installationHe says.
Hammer’s lawyer, Sjur Løbø Solhaug, did not want to present the case to the media.
– DinBuss as a business chooses to sue a 19 year old consumer and indeed I have many views. “What I have to say about this will be reported in court from June 12 to 14,” he told NRK.
– Shameful business
After the fire, he is happy to have good support from friends and parents.
The parents of the gang of boys often restricted things to do during the Russian period so that the boys would have as good a time as possible.
– The Russian era was very good, after all.
Now he’s looking forward to a lawsuit in the legal system.
– This is an important issue and it is important to bring it out. We are also fighting for future Russians exposed to that business. It should be cleaned. He says it is very cynical.
The trial begins on June 12 at the Sør-Rogaland District Court. Three days are allotted.
Unsolicited claim reduced
Sverre Tostensen at DinBuss writes in an SMS to NRK that out of respect for the court, they will avoid preliminary proceedings as much as possible.
– Hammer has been sued as a lessee for equipment that caught fire during the lease period. We had previously initiated court mediation in the hope of finding a joint solution, but this was rejected by the other party.
He explains that the reason the claim was reduced by 400,000 was because the landlord first made a claim that later turned out to be somewhat less.
– Our demand is similar to what our landlords demand from us. Our request was unnecessarily corrected, Tostenson writes.
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