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BSF Seeks Damages for Colombian Terrorism Victims

Litigation Highlights

Firm Newsletter Spring 2011


Lee Wolosky

Representing victims of terrorism in Colombia, BSF filed a complaint against Chiquita Brands International, Inc. in Florida Federal Court. The complaint, filed in April 2010, alleges that Chiquita made over one hundred payments totaling more than $1.7 million to a terrorist organization and seeks to recover this money to compensate victims. The payments, made over six years, were used to finance a campaign of massacres, extra-judicial killings, torture, murders, forced disappearances, and forced displacements against Columbian civilians.

The Firm currently has 888 named Plaintiffs in the case, hailing from the banana-producing regions where they or Plaintiffs or their deceased family members lived or worked. BSF’s complaint seeks in excess of $1 billion in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. 

The civil litigation arises out of a criminal investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Justice that resulted in Chiquita’s 2007 admission that it made payments to the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia (Autodefensorias Unidas de Colombia or “AUC”).  Chiquita pled guilty to a felony charge of engaging in transactions with a specially-designated global terrorist. As part of its sentence Chiquita paid a criminal fine of $25 million and was placed on corporate probation for 5 years.

The victims’ representation is primarily handled by BSF partners Nicholas Gravante, Jr., Lee Wolosky, Magda Jimenez Train, and Douglass Mitchell, associate Pedro Allende and former associate Scott Wilson.

For media coverage of this case, please click here.

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Related Lawyers: Nicholas A. Gravante Jr., , Douglass A. Mitchell, Pedro M. Allende