Friday, July 9, 2010

Lights, camera, deception?

The case against Dole Foods over the alleged poising of Nicaraguan farm workers has taken a turn for the strange.

In 2007 a U.S. federal court awarded six ex-Dole workers with $2.3 million after they claimed that pesticides used on Nicaraguan plantations made them sterile. Dole has since tried to get that decision dismissed and have accused the workers of being bribed to make false statements against the food giant. An attorney for the Nicaraguans countered and this week claimed that lawyers for Dole tried to pay off witnesses by promising to relocate them in Costa Rica and give them cushy jobs.

The latest twist emerged on Thursday when a filmmaker said that he went to Nicaragua as “an undercover operative” for a Texas law firm suing Dole. "I decided to work with the firm and help with the legal process…I decided to use the film for that purpose," said Jason Glaser who added that the Provost-Umphrey law firm paid him and his crew about $17,000 monthly. Glaser also admitted that he “shared information with a Nicaraguan lawyer who held rallies to denounce Dole” and that he viewed the accusations of the plaintiffs as a “a troubling issue."

Unusually Glaser was called to the stand not be Dole lawyers but by plaintiffs attorney Steve Condie who tired to plant doubt on the defense:
Condie accused them of withholding the information for tactical reasons, but Dole attorney Theodore Boutrous said that was "absurd." Boutrous said admissible evidence was required to bring such an allegation to the court and, "admissible evidence didn't exist."
Glaser is expected to return to the witness stand later today.

Image- CBS News (“A former banana worker walks outside of the shack in front of Nicaragua's National Assembly in Managua, Wednesday, July 11, 2007.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, San Jose Mercury News,, ABC News

No comments: