Dole Claims Fraud In Nicaragua Banana Worker Suits
LOS ANGELES (AP) ¿ Two men with cloaked identities testified on videotape Tuesday that they were recruited by lawyers in Nicaragua to fraudulently claim they were rendered sterile by pesticides used on Dole Fresh Fruit Co. banana plantations.
The men said they never worked on plantations and that the lawyers gave them information to make up stories in hopes of collecting millions of dollars in lawsuits.
The videotapes of the two men and depositions of plaintiffs in pending California lawsuits were presented by Dole attorneys at a hearing before a judge hearing those cases.Attorney Scott Edelman said at the hearing that witnesses fear being killed, and Superior Court Judge Victoria G. Chaney said she was concerned for the safety of investigators and attorneys and feared obstruction of justice and interference with due process. The videotaped witnesses appeared as shadowy forms and were referred to as John Doe 10 and John Doe 16 by attorneys. One said he rejected an offer of $25,000 to $30,000 to participate while the other said he went along and was given many training sessions to prepare for suing Dole.
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