Chiquita case: Judge cancels second trial

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Chiquita case: Judge cancels second trial

After over fifteen years, a resolution is finally in sight for the victims of paramilitary groups funded by Chiquita in Colombia. In a remote hearing held June 24, presiding judge Kenneth Marra canceled the second bellwether trial in the multi-district litigation, Law360 reported.

The decision comes on the heels of a falling-out between the attorneys representing the victims. The long-standing rift ended last week with the majority of the plaintiffs asking the court to sever their claims from those represented by attorney Paul Wolf. 

Wolf filed five of the lawsuits consolidated in the multi-district litigation.

Additionally, Judge Marra stated that he is “inclined to approve” a  $12.8 million settlement between Chiquita and Wolf’s clients. Of this amount, 33% will go to Wolf for attorney fees.

The second trial was slated for mid-July. However, Judge Marra “did not see any purpose” in holding a second hearing.

"It's a narrow and limited purpose, and it doesn't justify another second trial when we can benefit from the Court of Appeals straightening out any errors that I may have made or affirming what I've done,” Marra said.

The first trial, which ended on June 10, found Chiquita liable for eight of the nine deaths connected to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) and awarded $38 million to the victims. 

The fruit company funded the right-wing paramilitary group under the guise of “security services” during the early 2000s. Attorneys representing Chiquita alleged that these payments were in fact “extorsion” and a response to threats on the firm’s operations in Colombia.

Related articles:

Plaintiffs won’t proceed together in Chiquita’s second trial

Chiquita found liable in paramilitary financing case


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