MANHATTAN (CN) - A legal gaffe upended a lawsuit against Coca-Cola for allegedly abusing union labor at bottling and processing plants in Guatemala, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
On Nov. 19, 2010, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan dismissed claims that the soft-drink company violently intimidated workers for engaging in union activities because Guatemala had a more convenient jurisdiction.
He invited the former union leaders that brought the case to re-file their claims if the "highest court of Guatemala" declined to hear their case, according to the 2nd Circuit's summary.
When a Guatemalan trial court also declined to hear the case, the plaintiffs returned to Manhattan without first appealing on their home turf.
On Friday, the 2nd Circuit found that their attorneys did not follow court instructions carefully enough, in a 6-page order refusing to reinstate the New York case.
"Here, plaintiffs' failure to meet the condition for reinstatement of their claims, set forth in the district court's dismissal order, is entirely of their own making," the order states. "In particular, plaintiffs declined to appeal the dismissal of their petition by the Guatemalan trial court, despite having a strong, good-faith basis for such an appeal."