Not even Evelyn Waugh could have come up with a banana republic tale as baroque as the just-thrown-out cases against Dole on April 24. Nicaraguan banana pickers claiming grave injury from the company’s pesticides in the 1970s sought a big payout from the U.S. investor in their country.
The cases were consolidated from 249 suits seeking $45 billion from Dole. But they were nothing but an elaborate, coordinated fraud.
The court found that Dole’s pesticides had been used in small and safe amounts, that most of the so-called banana pickers had never set foot on a plantation and that no one ended up sterile. The plaintiffs in fact had been forced into the suit through death-squad threats if they didn’t play along and fake it.
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