Chiquita alleges $38M verdict is “inconsistent with Colombian law”

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Chiquita alleges $38M verdict is “inconsistent with Colombian law”

Last month, a Florida federal court awarded $38.8 million to eight of the nine victims of paramilitary groups funded by Chiquita in Colombia. However, the banana company said on June 8 that said amount should be reduced in compliance with Colombian law, Law360 reported.

Chiquita alleged that the court should apply the maximum limits for moral damages and loss of relation damages in furtherance of Colombian legislation. If approved, the new verdict would amount to about $51,706, of which $17,560 (72 million Colombian pesos) correspond to moral damages and $34,146 (140 million pesos) to loss of relations damages.

"If the verdict were permitted to stand as rendered, the individual awards would be approximately 40x to 50x larger than the total cap of $51,706," Chiquita said. "No Colombian court has come anywhere close to doing that, and if they attempted to do so, the Colombian Supreme Court would reverse it."

The banana company alleges that, during the trial, the court applied Colombian law to a significant part of the plaintiff’s claims. Thus, the same legislation should be applied to the verdict, the firm stated.

Chiquita had previously asked the presiding Judge Kenneth Marra for an order barring the plaintiffs from recovering non-economic damages beyond the limits stipulated by the country’s laws. Marra then deferred ruling on it and told the company it could move for a reduction if the verdict exceeded the caps.

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs Jake Scarola said that the limitations on damages have only been applied in Colombia “when the damages have been assessed against public sources of funds, analogous to sovereign immunity limitations commonly recognized by U.S. governmental entities."

Scarola added that Chiquita’s motion is “one more desperate attempt to evade the consequences of its criminal conduct.”

Related articles:

Chiquita case: Judge cancels second trial

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

Chiquita found liable in paramilitary financing case

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