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Dole Must Pay Farmworkers $3.2 Million

A Los Angeles jury on Monday awarded $3.2 million to six Nicaraguan farmworkers who had sued Dole Food Co. Inc., arguing they had been rendered sterile some three decades ago by the international corporate giant's application of a banned pesticide on the plantations where they worked.1107 02 1

Jurors return today to consider whether Dole, and codefendant Dow Chemical Co., should be punished with more monetary damages. They will decide whether Dole acted maliciously in failing to warn its workers of the danger, and whether Dow engaged in gross negligence in manufacturing the chemical.

Already, courts in Nicaragua have returned more than $600 million in judgments against Dole and other companies, according to lawyers for the workers - judgments that have proved impossible to collect so far. The verdicts announced Monday marked the first case of foreign farmworkers prevailing in a U.S. court against Dole and Dow over harm from the pesticide, DBCP.

Four more lawsuits are pending in Los Angeles in which thousands of workers from Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama allege that they, too, were injured from the use of DBCP on plantations. Lawyers for workers say tens of thousands have sued worldwide over the chemical...

Full Story: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dole6nov06,0,4515163,full.story