The now-notorious Dole case ended on Thursday with LA Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney ruling in the company’s favor to throw out charges against the world’s largest fruit and vegetable grower. The ruling reverses the decision of the 2007 Tellez Vs. Dole decision in which the jury awarded $2.3 million in compensation to Dole workers who had been rendered sterile because of exposure to a PAN Bad Actor pesticide DBCP (dibromochloropropane), trade name Nemagon. As reported last week, workers in Dole’s banana plantations in Nicaragua were made to work with DBCP for at least three years after the EPA banned this chemical, leading to sterility in exposed male workers. A BBC News report points out that the original 2007 verdict could have been a landmark victory for workers’ rights, but as the plaintiffs’ lawyer told Reuters, the new decision “has effectively destroyed any Nicaraguan’s ability to seek compensation in (U.S.) court."
Tellez vs. Dole marked the final case tried in the U.S. addressing Nicaraguan workers’ claims over DBCP, with litigation stretching over more than two decades. The outcome was heralded by Dole’s attorneys as a landmark verdict that would set the tone for many more Nicaraguans claiming injury. According to the Los Angeles Times, "The decision was highly anticipated in the poverty-stricken, politically fragile country of Nicaragua, where tens of thousands still claim various medical conditions resulting from Dole’s practices, and the case of the banana workers has been transformed into something of a political movement."