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Judge Dismisses Sterility Verdict Against Dole

July 19, 2010
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According to the Associated Press, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney dismissed a $2.3 million judgment against Dole Food Co. in a lawsuit by purported Nicaraguan banana workers, saying the company and the court were victims of a massive fraud. The judge said that because of actions by plaintiffs in Nicaragua it may never be possible for anyone to know the truth of the case. A jury in 2007 awarded the money to six plaintiffs who claimed exposure to pesticides at Dole plantations made them sterile. The judge found that a Los Angeles lawyer orchestrated a fraud in which he recruited people to say they had been banana workers when they had not. Chaney also found that a series of "John Doe" witnesses who blew the whistle on the fraud were generally credible. The judge dismissed a companion case last year for similar reasons after testimony that plaintiffs pretended to have been workers on Dole banana farms in the 1970s and faked lab tests to show they became sterile. The Dole attorneys said all six plaintiffs submitted sperm test results from labs known to have committed fraud in the case.
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