A California judge on Thursday dismissed two lawsuits by purported Nicaraguan banana plantation workers against U.S. food giant Dole and other companies on grounds of fraud and attempted extortion.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney ruled after hearing three days of testimony that detailed a scheme to recruit men who would claim they were rendered sterile by exposure to a pesticide in the 1970s.
Witnesses and investigators told of being in fear for their lives for exposing the fraud.
The judge denounced the lawyers who hatched the scheme and said there was a group of corrupt Nicaraguan judges "devouring bribes" to make judgments and aid the scheme.
The lawsuits ended up in the California court seeking enforcement of extravagant damages determined by Nicaraguan judges.