A judge threw out a multimillion-dollar award Thursday granted by an L.A. jury to six Nicaraguan men in a lawsuit against food giant Dole, finding that fraud by American and Nicaraguan attorneys had tainted the trial.
California 2nd District Court of Appeal Judge Victoria G. Chaney issued the ruling after presiding over the original six-month trial, which resulted in a $2.3-million verdict against Dole. Tellez vs. Dole Food Co. marked the first case tried in the U.S. over injuries dating from the 1970s allegedly caused by the chemical dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, which Dole continued to apply in Central America after it was banned in the U.S. over concerns that it caused sterility.
Chaney made sweeping findings in April 2009 — two years after the original verdict was handed down — that a second batch of cases had been based on an elaborate international scheme by plaintiffs’ attorneys who tried to recruit fake banana workers, manipulate medical test results and defraud the American court system.
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