Issue Date: May 4, 2009
Judge Throws Out Pesticide Lawsuit
A California state judge has thrown out two pesticide lawsuits against Dole Foods, Dow Chemical, and American Vanguard. Superior Court Judge Victoria G. Chaney said plaintiffs, their lawyers, testing labs, and Nicaraguan judges "participated in a conspiracy to defraud this court, to extort money from the defendants, and to defraud the defendants." Banana workers who operated plantations for Dole in Nicaragua between 1970 and 1980 claimed they were rendered sterile by the use of the soil fumigant 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) supplied by the two chemical firms. After winning millions in damages in a Nicaraguan court, the workers sought to enforce the judgments in the U.S. DBCP was banned by EPA in 1979 because of deleterious human health effects. The judge did not question DBCP's toxicity, but she said, "We'll never know if anybody in Nicaragua was actually injured or harmed by the alleged wrongful conduct of the defendants."
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