WG Film, Fredrik Gertten and Margarete Jangard, producers of the documentary film BANANAS!*, have retained First Amendment specialist Lincoln Bandlow of Lathrop & Gage to defend a defamation action brought against them by Dole Food Company.
The Documentary examines global food politics through the vehicle of a Los Angeles civil lawsuit brought by Nicaraguan banana farm workers against Dole. Bandlow says that the filmmakers "will vigorously respond to Dole’s meritless action and will demonstrate that the lawsuit is simply one part of Dole’s overall strategy to stifle debate about an issue of great public importance."
Bandlow added that the film gives a balanced account of claims that Dole’s use of the pesticide DBCP caused banana workers to become sterile. "The documentary shows both sides of the story, including the tough cross examination of the workers and the later holding by the court that the action was tainted by fraud on the part of some of the workers’ counsel. It is apparent that Dole hopes to leverage the misconduct of certain of the workers’ counsel to stifle the film and, in particular, its discussion of evidence that Dole continued to use DBCP in Nicaragua after being informed by the pesticide’s supplier of its risk to worker health", adds Bandlow.
The film, which to date has been shown only twice at the June 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival, where there was detailed discussion both before and after the running of the film about the controversy over the recent finding of fraud by the workers’ counsel, is scheduled for broader release this fall. "Dole does not want that release to happen because it wants discussion about its DBCP practices to simply go away. We are confident the court will not allow Dole to use this meritless lawsuit to accomplish that goal", said Bandlow.
For information and press enquiries, please contact:
Lincoln Bandlow, Esq.
Phone: +01 310 789 4600