Judge throws out lawsuits alleging Chiquita funded Colombian massacres

September 17 , 2019

A federal judge has thrown out 10 lawsuits filed against Chiquita Brands International by Colombian families alleging the company funded a paramilitary that killed them.

The Palm Beach Post reports that District Judge Kenneth Marra dismissed the lawsuits this month, saying the families can't definitively link their loved ones' deaths to the paramilitary group or Chiquita.

Marra was quoted as saying the Colombian regions where the deaths happened "were brutalized" by various factions during that country's civil war.

For more than a decade, Lemus and others have waged a legal battle in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach against Chiquita.

The 10 lawsuits are serving as "bellwethers" to help determine whether 7,500 similar cases have a chance of succeeding. Marra sent his decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, acknowledging his word is not final.

Attorney James Green, who represented the victims, said the practical effect of Marra’s ruling is that a trial scheduled for next month won’t be held. But, the attorneys said they would continue to fight.