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4 Nov 2016

Britain Eakin, Courthouse News (USA)

US judge allows test claims against DynCorp for illness caused by chemical spraying in Colombia to continue

"Contractor to Face Chemical-Spray Claims", 3 Nov 2016

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled in favor of 19 Ecuadoreans who claim that a U.S. company sprayed a toxic herbicide on them as part of a campaign to combat Colombian drug cartels.  The 19 Ecuadorean "test" plaintiffs in the case say that DynCorp, which contracted with the U.S. State Department to carry out "Plan Colombia," sprayed them with glyphosate as part of an effort to eradicate cocaine and heroin poppy drug farms in Colombia. U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said the record shows that DynCorp engaged in "a consistent pattern of reckless behavior."  "Defendants were repeatedly informed that their pilots were spraying chemicals on communities in Ecuador...yet continued to carry out spray operations in a manner that deeply troubled Ecuadorian population centers...DynCorp insisted wind patterns were to blame for drift of the toxin, but Huvelle disagreed...The consolidated class action has been winding its way through the courts since 2001...Huvelle allowed five test claims of severe emotional distress to survive, but tossed out all of the nuisance claims...