Appellate Court revives human rights case against Chiquita
[On 6 September 2022,] the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that several families suing Chiquita Brands International for its role in funding paramilitary death squads in Colombia can proceed toward a jury trial.
The Eleventh Circuit reversed a September 2019 summary judgment decision by a federal judge in Florida, who had ruled the victims lacked admissible evidence showing that their family members were murdered by the paramilitaries. In reversing the district court, the Eleventh Circuit found substantial evidence of paramilitary involvement in the killings.
EarthRights International initially filed the suit in 2007 and represents families of hundreds of victims murdered, tortured, and injured by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), an outlawed paramilitary organization that Chiquita admitted to illegally funding.
...EarthRights General Counsel Marco Simons issued the following statement:
“Today’s order was a milestone in this historic lawsuit. The families have been waiting years to have their day in court despite strenuous efforts by Chiquita to have the case dismissed...
“Perhaps the most significant aspect of this ruling is that it accepts the admission of circumstantial evidence and expert testimony to show that murders that occurred at times and places where the AUC was in control and in a manner that fits with the AUC’s methods and motives, to show that the murders were committed by the AUC. That conclusion will apply to hundreds if not thousands of the victims in this case.”...