Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Banana workers’ pesticide award invalid, Dow says

Nicaraguan banana plantation workers are “hoping a U.S. court will get them a $468 million default judgment against Dow Chemical Co., Dole Food Co. Inc. and Shell Chemical Co. that was awarded to them by a court in Managua.

The Facts, Front Page article, Wed May 28, 2003 Clute, Texas

By Michael Baker

Nicaraguan banana plantation workers are “hoping a U.S. court will get them a $468 million default judgment against Dow Chemical Co., Dole Food Co. Inc. and Shell Chemical Co. that was awarded to them by a court in Managua.

The 586 banana workers allege they were injured by a pesticide, dibtomochloropropane, made by Dow and Shell and used on Dole’s banana plants in the 1960s and ’70s. The chemical was used to control microscopic worms that attacked the root systems of banana trees, Dow spokesman Scot Wheeler said.

The workers’ attorney, Walter Lack, could not be reached for comment. He told Reuters that exposure to the pesticide caused sterility, as well as cancer, heart and respiratory problems in the workers.

The Managua court issued the $468 million judgment In January, but the companies have not paid anything toward it. Lack told Reuters he is asking for a writ of execution to execute the judgment on the company’s assets. .

Lack is using a California law that says foreign court judgments are recognized and enforced in the United States, so long as they provide for due process, according to Reuters.

But Wheeler said the Nicaraguan law – called Law 364 – that gave birth to the judgment does not allow for due process. The law requires companies to pay participation fees and multimillion-dollar, non-refundable bonds for each lawsuit, Wheeler said.

The law was created in October 2000 specifically for lawsuits over the pesticide, Wheeler said.

“The terms of Law 364 are unconstitutional and unenforceable,” Wheeler said. “Law 364 violates the Nicaraguan Constitution, the United States Constitution and all international standards of due process and equal treatment.”

The law also creates a “presumption of liability,’ even if no injuries are proven, Wheeler said. Nicaragua’s own attorney general said in 2002 that the law was unconstitutional, he said.

Dole officials could not he reached for comment.

Shell spokesman Tim O’Leary agreed with Wheeler that Law 364 violates due process. He also said Shell is not responsible for any injury to the workers.

SOURCE ARTICLE

Sterility causing chemical also linked with cancer: 23 August 1977

Shell workers show low levels of sperm: 30 August 1977

Dow links chemical to low fertility: 21 October 1977

Pesticide exposure limitations sought: 02 November 1977

CHEMICAL IS CONTAMINATING WATER IN COMMUNITY NEAR ARMY ARSENAL 25 May 1986

Banana workers’ pesticide award invalid, Dow says: 28 May 2003

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

0 Comments on “Banana workers’ pesticide award invalid, Dow says”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: