Dole Food Company has announced that it has reached a settlement for the termination of 38 lawsuits against the company that had been pending in the US and Nicaragua, completing an agreement that had been reached late last year.
The cases, including two Nicaragua judgments totaling US$907.5m, had been brought by the ProvostUmphrey Law Firm on behalf of foreign plaintiffs claiming injuries from alleged exposure more than 30 years ago to the agricultural chemical Dibromochloropropane (DBCP).
The chemical was a pesticide sprayed on crops for over two decades before it was banned in 1977, amid reports of infertility among male workers exposed to it.
No details of the value of the completed agreement have been released, although the group confirmed that it will not have a material effect on Dole's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
"The termination of these 38 lawsuits takes Dole completely out of all ProvostUmphrey DBCP litigation, including the two judgments pending in the Nicaragua courts, and moves Dole closer to the eventual elimination of all DBCP lawsuits," said Michael Carter, Dole's executive vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary. "Though there is no reliable scientific basis for alleged injuries from the agricultural field application of DBCP, Dole has been willing to consider possible agreements which recognise that there is no causal connection between DBCP and plaintiffs’ allegations."