LOS ANGELES (CN) – Dole claims it was defamed in a documentary that dramatizes a legal battle against the fruit company, though a judge dismissed the workers’ claims as fraudulent. “Bananas!” follows Juan Dominguez, a California lawyer who sued Dole on behalf of thousands of Nicaraguan plantation workers who claimed that Dole’s pesticides made them sterile.
In its Superior Court complaint, Dole says that Dominguez’s fight is portrayed as a “‘David and Goliath’ ‘success,'” despite L.A. Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney’s ruling that most of the workers’ claims were false.
The judge reduced a $2.5 million damage award and dismissed most of the workers’ claims before the movie was shown, but filmmakers Fredrik Gertten and Margarete Jangard refused to edit the movie accordingly, Dole says. It claims that Judge Chaney allegedly found that some of the plaintiffs in Dominguez’s suit never actually worked for Dole.
In the original case, Tellez v. Dole Food Co., “the Court of Appeal on July 7, 2009, granted Dole’s petition for a writ of error coram vobis, [and] held that a prima facie showing of fraud had been made as to all the Tellez plaintiffs and remanded the remainder of the Tellez case back to the Superior Court for dismissal unless the prima facie showing was promptly rebutted,” Dole claims.
Dole seeks damages and an injunction on further screenings of the movie.