Press Release: recent decision in Chiquita case

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida • Washington, DC • Quito, Ecuador

PRESS RELEASE: RECENT DECISION IN CHIQUITA CASE
Contact: Terry Collingsworth
CONRAD & SCHERER
Counsel for Plaintiffs
1-202-255-2198
tc@iradvocates.org

On June 3, 2011, federal judge Kenneth Marra granted in part and denied in part Chiquita
Brands International’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ claims. While the Court did dismiss some of
the claims, the main claims made by Plaintiffs, i.e., that Chiquita aided and abetted, and
conspired with the AUC to commit torture, extrajudicial killings, war crimes and crimes against
humanity, will now proceed to trial. The decision is extremely significant in that Chiquita
entered a plea agreement in 2007 that admitted the company had paid significant funds to the
AUC, the main paramilitary group in Colombia. The AUC was designated a terrorist
organization by the U.S. State Department in 2001. Chiquita was fined $25 million, but the
thousands of victims of the AUC’s violence have not received any compensation from Chiquita.

Chiquita has admitted that it paid the AUC terrorists for a period of seven years, from
1997-2004, but its public relations position apparently is that the payments were “coerced.” As
lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, Terry Collingsworth, has stated, “this was not a defense in the
criminal case, and it cannot be a defense in the civil case. Further, it is absurd on its face that
someone could be coerced into making monthly payments across seven years. Chiquita always
had the option that it finally exercised in 2004– selling its interest in Colombia and doing
business elsewhere.”

Collingsworth added that “former AUC members will testify that they had an ongoing
business relationship with Chiquita, and there was complete cooperation not coercion. Chiquita
significantly benefited from its relationship with the AUC.”

With Judge Marra’s decision, the case now moves into the “discovery phase.” Plaintiffs
plan to aggressively begin this process of getting internal documents from Chiquita and taking
depositions of Chiquita board members and executives who participated in the criminal acts.
Collingsworth said that “the company’s acts are just so extreme, using a terrorist group to murder
thousands of people, that this is a case where punitive damages must be used to ensure that no
company ever is tempted again to treat innocent people like expendable objects.”

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Rex Conrad 1935-1999 • William Scherer
Conrad & Scherer, LLP •
1156 15th St. NW, Suite 502, Washington, DC 20005
Phone 202-543-4001 • Fax 1-866-803-1125
www.conradscherer.com

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