July 25th, 2014
A US appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit against banana grower Chiquita brought by at least 4,000 Colombians who accused the company of supporting paramilitary forces who killed or tortured their relatives.
In the 2-1 decision on Thursday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found a 2013 US Supreme Court ruling limited foreign nationals’ ability to seek damages against corporations in US courts.
Chiquita, the world’s largest banana producer, pleaded guilty in 2007 to making over 100 payments beginning in 1997 to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a right-wing paramilitary group the United States considered a terror organization. Chiquita handed AUC $1.7 million in cash and checks before ending the practice in February 2004.
In 2001, Chiquita was identified in invoices and other documents as the recipient of a shipment from Nicaragua of 3,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 5 million rounds of ammunition. The shipment was actually intended for the AUC.
Banana giant Chiquita has spent around $780,000 in the past year and a half to block a 9/11 victims’ bill in the US Congress. The legislation aims to aid victims and families in their claims against supporters or sponsors of terror attacks.
The bill would attempt to impose civil liabilities on those found to have aided and abetted US-designated terrorist groups overseas.
Now-Attorney General Eric Holder represented the fruit company in the previous lawsuit.