• Sweden edition
Fruit giant to dole out $200,000 over Bananas!* lawsuit

Fruit giant to dole out $200,000 over Bananas!* lawsuit

Published: 29 Nov 2010 16:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Nov 2010 16:46 GMT+01:00

Dole originally sued Swedish director, Fredrik Gertten, producer Margareta Jangard, and production company WG Film in July 2009 for defamation after the documentary Bananas!* premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

"I'm very happy. It's a huge relief for us after having such a huge weight on our shoulders and cool that a judge has thrown out the case. It also shows people and other filmmakers that big companies cannot get away with suing them to try to silence them," Gertten told The Local on Monday.

The film chronicles the efforts of Los Angeles lawyer Juan Dominguez in representing Nicaraguan fruit workers who allege they became sterile after Dole sprayed them with a banned pesticide.

After the lawsuit was filed, the filmmakers won the support of several Swedish MPs, burger chain Max, which stopped selling Dole fruit salad, and grocers ICA and Axfood, which demanded to meet with the Swedish subsidiary of Dole.

In addition to the financial penalty, Dole is prevented from suing Gertten, Jangard and WG Film again in the future.

"They have contacted me a few times before to ask me to agree to some ridiculous terms, which I refused," said Gertten.

The ruling clears the way for companies and broadcasters to screen the film with no legal worries, Gertten said. Oscilloscope Laboratories, helmed by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, holds the theatrical and distribution rights to the film in the US.

The original defamation lawsuit was thrown out in October 2009, after which Gertten replied with a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) filed in Los Angeles.

These suits intend to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

California has a unique variant of anti-SLAPP legislation, making it a popular destination for such suits.

Gertten pointed out that he will not see a penny of the penalty. His lawyer, Lincoln Bandlow, has asked him for $250,000, but Gertten said that this is not the full costs. Gertten's insurance company will pay up to $300,000 in legal fees.

In addition, Gertten, Jangard and the production company have invested a significant amount of their own time and finances into the lawsuit. However, Gertten pointed out that Dole has spent considerably more fighting him, Jangard and their production company.

"They've spent about $1 million on the case. Their PR company has called all the journalists who have interviewed us and translated all the articles from Swedish. They have also made their lawyers available for interviews in Swedish media," he said.

Dole's penalty will be paid directly to the insurance company, but it can still appeal the ruling. However, an appeal would only cover the financial penalty, not the ruling on future lawsuits.

"I would be much happier if they contacted me and said, 'Sorry, here's the money,' but that's not going to happen," said Gertten.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:21 November 29, 2010 by boby
So, what do we have here? Another anti-american action by Sweden. Not surprising. I wonder what will Sweden look like with out the US (probably be a province in Soviet union now).
17:34 November 29, 2010 by Rick Methven

The film maker just used his legal right to stop the bully boy Dole from trying to cover up their extremely questionable business tactics.

This time they got lucky and found a judge that was not on the Dole payroll

As far as where Sweden would be without the US, Exactly where we are now but better off
17:43 November 29, 2010 by markusd

Seems to me that the only thing Swedish in this article is the director.
18:14 November 29, 2010 by mjennin2
Yea I'm going to have to agree, this is not anti-american. This is anti-inhumane business practice which isn't America-specific. These things happen all over the world. It's important that we shed light on them, so as to call into question not only the companies themselves, but also the inspectors and other regulatory bodies who are paid (usually by tax payer dollars) to ensure that things like this don't happen. They should all be morally audited.
18:38 November 29, 2010 by Jonsol69.blogspot.com
A clear demonstration of how corrupt the legal system is. Despite the win, it appears a deliberate loss and puts people off challenging the evil big corps. The ruling should have been all legal costs plus 250,000 minimum. This is small change to the big corps. The more often these organisations can continue without serious impeachment post unethical, immoral and dangerous conduct to life and environment; the greater the lobbies and payoffs will be and corruption from the top down.

Outstanding work, we need more documentaries of this nature that uncover the corporate owning unethical, immoral parasites and the rotten practices by government and courts

Here are a couple of ideas: Government approving food additives which are toxic (corporate lobbies buying government). A Swedish version of 'What On Earth Are They Spraying'. The chocolate industry. The electronics industry and the semi-precious African metals in destabilised Congo. Shell in Nigeria, BP deliberate safety cost cuts. The self-styled elite groups and their involvement in eugenics, education and population control. Investigations into the agendas of the CFR, Trilateral Commission, Royal Institute For International Affairs, Club of Rome, Bilderberg, Rockefeller, Rothschild and Bill Gates foundations, IMF, World Bank. Behind the WWF, WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, Greenpeace movements, to name but a few. Oh I forgot to add Climate-gate.

Some of the information within their own documentation is the frightening stuff of horror films and reminds me of the quote by Lord Byron - "The truth is strange, stranger than fiction."
18:57 November 29, 2010 by StockholmSam
Boby, I think you should change your name to Booby. There is nothing anti-American in this piece. If anything, the fact that a little guy stood up to a corporate goliath's unethical behavior and won is a rather positive reflection on American freedoms. Chalk one up for the very American freedom to fight the power. Lots of places out there do not have that freedom.
19:37 November 29, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Business model for hippies everywhere: Phase 1: Create yellow journalism about large multinational corporation. Phase 2: Live your 15 min of fame being a media attention whore. Phase 3: Go legal and then settle with them. Phase 4: ????. Phase 5: Fictory and Profit!
19:51 November 29, 2010 by brooklynmom2
For those who side with Dole, would you like to get sprayed with the same sh t?
20:06 November 29, 2010 by boby
Why would someone go after Doil? There are a million places on earth where great atrocities are performed on a daily basis. Sweden is after America, that is a fact. The Swedish 'artists' will rather write about Doil or any other American corporation then criticize North Korea, Iran or Sudan etc.

Its because the Swedish is biased to the Islam and Communism. So today, North Korea is the beacon for the 'intellectual islamo-left fascists' in Sweden. They are like a dog that bites the hand that feeds it, without US, that safe guarded their freedom for so many years they would not be able to write any of the garbage.
20:20 November 29, 2010 by Rishonim
This should be a lesson to all those antiamerican nutcase that only in the USA we can see such ruling. Imagine if the same documentaris was fighting the same case against a big Swedish conglomerate (Arla foods) I am more than sure the swedish legal system would have sided with the food giant.
20:27 November 29, 2010 by boby
@ Rishonim

You are so right. Sweden likes to think of itself as a great democracy, but in reality it is a totalitarian state. An islamo-fascist 'intellectual' gang controls the media and they have 'soldiers' that violently shuts any signs of free speech and thought. That is why in Sweden tyrants from North Korea and terrorists from Hamas are welcomed with open arms but freedom fighters from US and Israel are attacked.
22:16 November 29, 2010 by reason
Arla doesn't grow bananas Rishonim, so the same case wouldn't be applicable. Let's instead pretend that Arla stole a patented process for a dairy product from a small innovation company. Surely the swedish legal system would side with the food giant rather than the tiny upstart... wait, this sounds familiar. Oh, yes, Arla lost that case just a few years ago. Was ordered to pay a record fine too. How quickly we forget :P

The evils of North Korea and Sudan are obvious and in the news every day. There's no risk that we'll forget them. The risk is rather that they drown out the smaller, insidious evils that surround us.

boby, you're an asshat.
23:20 November 29, 2010 by mkvgtired
I have read a lot surrounding this case. Much evidence has been admitted that shows many of the plaintiffs did not even work for Dole. Corrupt doctors faked test results and a corrupt Nicaraguan judge let it proceed. I am not saying that Dole's practices did or didnt hurt anyone, but with how many questions are surrounding this case it is unclear if Dole even did anything wrong. A sleazy LA lawyer is trying to line his pockets. This is not an Erin Brockovich story where a small time lawyer beat a large company that was actually hurting people. This is a story of a sleazy ambulance chaser that was a good liar and won a large settlement. Here is some info from the Huffington Post, arguably one of the most anti-business publications available.

20:23 December 3, 2010 by Textex
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert
Terrorism expert Ranstorp and a policeman in Norway. Photos: TT

Swedish expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism expert has come forward criticizing the way Norway has handled its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total problem in intelligence". READ  

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

Swedish nurse reported for patient 'death wave'

A nurse in southern Sweden has been reported for abuse at a senior care centre after she allegedly waved to a colleague with the hand of a recently-dead resident. READ  

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo
Plopp and Polly, the offspring of Pandora the panda. Photo: Kolmården

Pandas Plopp and Polly born in Swedish zoo

A pair of red panda cubs have been born in central Sweden, a wildlife park announced on Monday. READ  

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

Green Party ranked 'most gay friendly' in Sweden

The Green Party's views are 88.6 percent "LGBT-friendly", a Swedish LGBT rights group claimed on Monday, making the Greens the most gay-friendly of all Sweden's parliamentary parties. READ  

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife
Police on the scene. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Man held on suspicion of murdering wife

Updated: Police arrested a man in Copenhagen on the suspicion of killing his wife, whose body was found at the couple's home in southern Sweden during the weekend. READ  

Arlanda, Stockholm
Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Lightning bolt grounds flight to New York

Swedes bound for New York learned on Monday morning that their plane had been cancelled after it was hit by lightning during Sunday's thunderstorm. READ  

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

Elderly Swedish man stripped of his 35 cats

The County Administrative Board of Skåne has decided to confiscate the 35 cats of an 81-year-old man who was forbidden from having more than nine of the furry felines. READ  

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew
Photo: TT

Wild weather set to strike Sweden anew

With Sunday's thunderstorm reported as the worst of the year so far, Sweden is bracing for round two on Monday as meteorologists predict more of the same. READ  

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high

Last year 1,600 people in Sweden took their own lives - and for Swedes aged 15 to 24, the numbers haven't been so high since 1989. READ  

Floods replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Floods replace Swedish heatwave

The Swedish summer was washed away on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm, including torrents of water flooding down stairways at metro stations. READ  

People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »


24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: