A total of 167 claims presented by former Colombian workers against U.S. based Dole Food Company have been overturned in a U.S. court.
The allegations, stemming from 2009, state that Dole had financed paramilitary members of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) armed group between 1997 and 2006, for the murders of 57 landowners and local residents close to company plantations, Pulzo reports.
Los Angeles judge Jane Johnson has thrown out the case, after the court awarded Dole tens of thousands of dollars in sanctions for the plaintiffs’ “misuse of the discovery process”. The claimants allegedly tampered with electronic evidence, presented on laptops and recording devices.
Genevieve Kelly, Dole’s Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, commented: “This is a long overdue dismissal of a case that should never have been brought in the first place. These plaintiffs’ lawyers acted in bad faith throughout almost seven years of litigation in trying to extract undeserved payments from the Company and making false and inflammatory accusations.”