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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Dole Pesticide Cases Could Be Thrown Out

A Los Angeles Superior Judge could dismiss two lawsuits accusing Dole Food Co. of exposing plantation workers to pesticides, on the basis of fraud. The lawsuits claim pesticides used on a Nicaraguan banana plantation run by Dole, the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables, made workers sterile. However, a three-day hearing that starts April 21 will determine whether Nicaraguan and U.S. lawyers recruited people who had never worked on banana plantations to pose as sterile “bananeros”. This could lead Judge Victoria Gerrard Chaney to terminate the cases for fraud. Reuters reported that an investigation ordered by the court found evidence that some of the claims were fraudulent, including evidence that lawyers had suppressed evidence of children born to the supposedly sterile workers. The investigation also revealed that the plaintiff’s lawyers used scripts, videos and field trips to educate the plaintiffs on life and work on the plantations. More than 40 cases against Dole, involving thousands of plaintiffs from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and the Ivory Coast are pending in Chaney’s court. Andrea Alegria

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