United States

    Dole Food Inc., the world's biggest fresh fruit and vegetables producer, can't be forced in the US to pay a USD 97 million verdict issued by a Nicaraguan court, a federal judge said. The award, won four years ago by 150 Nicaraguans who claimed they suffered injuries from pesticides used at Dole's banana plantations in the 1970s, can't be enforced because it was based on a law that violates international legal standards, US District Judge Paul Huck in Miami ruled Oct. 20. "The law under which this case was tried stripped defendants of their basic right in any adversarial proceeding to produce evidence in their favor and rebut the plaintiffs' claims," Huck said. Dole argued that the 2001 Nicaraguan law is biased against defendants like itself. The statute was enacted to litigate injury claims by banana workers against foreign corporations and presumes the pesticide DBCP causes sterility and other injuries. (Bloomberg)

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