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US jury decides not to award damages in Ecuadorians' test case against DynCorp over impact of chemical spraying in Colombia

Policía Nacional de los colombianos, photo credit AP Photo/William Fernando Martinez licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Article
21 April 2017

Jury Finds DynCorp Responsible for the Actions of Plan Colombia Pilots Who Conducted Fumigations After April 2003

Author: International Rights Advocates

[A] federal jury returned a verdict in the first of the test trials against DynCorp International... [The case was initially filed] in 2001 on behalf of over 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who live near the border with Colombia and allege that they had their farms destroyed when the toxic chemicals used by DynCorp to kill coca and poppy plants was also sprayed on their farms...the case was finally set for trial on behalf of six (6) test plaintiffs...DynCorp’s major defense was that they were not responsible for any of the damages to the Ecuadoran farmers because they were not flying the spray missions themselves...The jury concluded that DynCorp was responsible for EAST [a subcontractor's]  pilots...[and] that in April, 2003, EAST took over control...making DynCorp liable for all spray pilots fumigating after that date...All of the first six test Plaintiffs had claims that pre-dated April, 2003...The jury was accordingly unable to award damages...DynCorp will be estopped from arguing they are not responsible for any harm caused by the spray pilots post-April, 2003...

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Article
21 April 2017

US jury rejects damages for Ecuadoran farmers in coca-eradication spraying

Author: Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post (USA)

A U.S. jury in Washington declined to award damages...in a trial testing claims by the first six of 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who allege that they were poisoned by [DynCorp] in a years-long coca-eradication campaign by the U.S. and Colombian governments...The farmers accused the firm of recklessly spraying them, their families and crops when fumigant drifted south across the Colombia-Ecuador border...The 10-person jury found DynCorp responsible for [a] subcontractor's pilots between 2000 and 2007, but not for employees of Colombian law enforcement. Because farmers could not say which pilot was at the controls of any individual plane, the jury rejected any claim before roughly April 2003 - the time frame when the Colombian police agency was engaged and when the six farmers in the case alleged they were sprayed...Attorneys for the farmers said they were disappointed by the verdict but pleased jurors found DynCorp could be held responsible for its subcontractor's actions after April 2003..DynCorp attorneys denied that anyone acted recklessly or intentionally to spray the farmers and argued there was no evidence of spray drifting at the times and places alleged by farmers...

[also refers to Monsanto]

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