Dole Food Co. Inc. on Wednesday filed a defamation suit against a Swedish filmmaker over a documentary that chronicles the legal battles between an L.A. plaintiff's attorney and the Westlake Village food giant over its use of pesticides on Nicaraguan banana plantations.

In the suit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by First Amendment attorney Theodore Boutrous, Dole alleges that the Fredrik Gertten's Bananas! documentary contain false statements about Dole and its use of the DBCP pesticide.

The documentary, which made its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, stars L.A. plaintiff's Juan Dominguez as a crusading attorney who travels to Nicaragua and signs up thousands of local men who claim they were made sterile as a result of exposure to the pesticide.

However, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a 60-page ruling in June finding that Dominguez was part of a network of U.S. and Nicaraguan attorneys who brought fraudulent claims against Dole for exposure to the pesticide, which was banned for use by the United States in the late 1970s because of its harmful affects.

Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney found that Dominguez recruited poor Nicaraguan men, coached them to testify that they had worked on Dole banana farms, and falsified lab reports to prove that they had been made sterile by exposure to the toxic chemical.

Chaney also ordered Dominguez to face contempt charges in July for his involvement in the alleged fraud, and referred him to the California State Bar and federal prosecutors for further investigation.

Dole claims in court documents that Gertten was made aware of Chaney's ruling prior to the documentary's screening and requested that he not publish "known falsehoods" including the depiction of an airplane spraying the DBCP chemical on banana farms and the implication that the toxic chemical caused the death of Nicaraguan citizens. What's more, Dole alleges that Gertten never contacted the company when he was making the documentary.

"The filmmaker and the film company seemed to ignore that fact that the entire premise of their film has been found to be fraudulent by the courts," Boutrous said. "We tried and tried to persuade the filmmaker to revise the film, and we had no choice but to take action and protect Dole and its employees' reputation."

A representative for Gertten didn't immediately return a request for comment.

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