DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. PLEASED BY JURY VERDICTS AGAINST HALF OF PLAINTIFFS IN DBCP CASES - PLANS TO APPEAL REMAINING DECISIONS
Westlake Village, CA - November 05, 2007
Dole Food Company, Inc. today announced that it is pleased by the Los Angeles Superior Court jury verdict in the Tellez case against six of the plaintiffs. The jury found that six of the 12 plaintiffs did not even suffer any injury as a result of their alleged exposure to the agricultural chemical DBCP on independent banana farms in Nicaragua nearly 30 years ago. The jury awarded a total of approximately $2.5 million in compensatory damages against Dole to the remaining six plaintiffs, who claimed they were made sterile by DBCP. Dole plans to appeal these six verdicts. The jury also found against Dow Chemical Company on these six cases.
"We are happy with the jury's findings as they relate to six of the twelve hand-picked plaintiffs. These verdicts send a strong message that false testimony does not stand up in a court of law. Dole has always believed that there is no scientific basis to support these alleged injuries," said C. Michael Carter, Dole's executive vice president and general counsel. "However, the six verdicts against Dole are flat wrong and the result of junk science, raw emotional appeals and false testimony. These six men were not injured by DBCP or Dole, and it is unjust for them to be awarded money from us. We are appealing to set the record straight."
- All the independent scientific research demonstrates that, to be possibly injured, a man would have to be exposed to hundreds of times the amount of DBCP that an agricultural worker could possibly receive. The only possible injury caused by exposure to DBCP is male sterility, and even that effect can occur only at very high levels of exposure over extended periods of time.
- Some of the plaintiffs claimed to have been made sterile by DBCP even though they were still fertile after they left work on the farm.
- Some of the other plaintiffs were sterile before they came to work on the farm.
- Other plaintiffs had become sterile through common causes like serious alcoholism and sexually transmitted diseases.
Dole believes there is no reliable scientific basis for alleged injuries from the agricultural field application of DBCP. Nevertheless, Dole has consistently demonstrated its willingness to compensate fairly those male banana workers who meet minimum criteria consistent with reliable science, as an effort to resolve disputed claims - scientific research indicates that DBCP does not have any harmful effects in women. As in Honduras, where Dole, worker unions and the Government of Honduras have implemented a successful worker program to deal with DBCP claims, Dole is committed to finding a prompt resolution to DBCP claims in Nicaragua, and is prepared to discuss a structured worker program with science-based criteria.
Dole is prepared to litigate cases anywhere in the world where there is a fair and independent judicial process and where resolution cannot be reached. Dole will not be intimidated by ugly accusations, fraudulent claims, junk science, or threats from U.S. trial lawyers, and is prepared to fully litigate each and every case.
The Dole Philosophy:
Dole is committed to the quality of our products, sustainable environmental practices and the wellbeing of our 75,000 employees worldwide. Dole contributes generously to the communities where it operates around the world, promoting nutrition and health education as well as a healthier, more sustainable environment.
Dole is a producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
The Tellez case is not expected to have a material effect on Dole's financial condition or results of operation. This release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "expects," "believes," "intends" and similar expressions. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; energy supply and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises and security risks in developing countries; international conflict; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.