• 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)

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
Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Researchers from Sweden have been speaking about a rare discovery of mammal fossils in the Antarctic. READ  

Ukraine conflict
Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact
The Sweden Democrats have two MEPs, seen here with the party's leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact

BREAKING: The European Parliament has backed an 'historic' agreement to allow closer trade between the EU and Ukraine, but the nationalist Sweden Democrats were among those trying to block the deal on Tuesday. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals
Liberal party leader Jan Björklund. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals

UPDATED: Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund says he has no plans to join a government with the election-winning Social Democrats, as Sweden's political future remains uncertain. READ  

'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene
Photo: Victor1558/Flickr

'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene

The Local checks out crowd-funding in Sweden as US giant Kickstarter announces plans to launch in Scandinavia. READ  

Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Brit Kester Gibson (left) thinks Scotland should split from the UK but Swede Mimi Coglianos disagrees. Photos: private

Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?

Scotland votes on whether to become independent this week and the Scottish National Party has suggested closer ties with Scandinavia if the 'yes' camp wins. The Local asked two readers if they agreed with Scotland splitting from the UK. READ  

Malmö gear up for Champions League
Sweden's biggest club Malmö face Juventus on Tuesday. Photo:TT

Malmö gear up for Champions League

Malmö are the first Swedish club in the Champion's League for more than a decade but they face a tough debut fixture against Italian champions Juventus in their Group A opener. READ  

Sweden earthquake 'was strongest in 100 years'
The town of Mora, near where the earthquake hit. Photo: Shutterstock

Sweden earthquake 'was strongest in 100 years'

An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale shook parts of central Sweden on Monday and experts have revealed it was the strongest in a century. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven rules out making government with the Left
Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt. Photo: TT

Löfven rules out making government with the Left

Election winner Stefan Löfven announced on Monday that he would not form a government with the Left Party, a move that party's leader called a "huge mistake". READ  

Elections 2014
Six big headaches for Stefan Löfven
Stefan Löfven: a man with a lot on his plate. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Six big headaches for Stefan Löfven

Stefan Löfven has started talks to form a new government, but the former welder faces huge challenges in bringing together an administration that will work. The Local explains why. READ  

Microsoft to buy Swedish Minecraft makers

Microsoft to buy Swedish Minecraft makers

UPDATED: Microsoft announced on Monday that it was buying Swedish company Mojang, which was behind the hit game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion (17.9 billion kronor). READ  

Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
People-watching: September 13th
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
People-watching: September 11th
Blog updates

15 September

Liten, litet, små & lilla (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Have you ever been confused about when to use “liten”, “litet”, “små” and “lilla”? Today I’m going to sort out how use the adjective “liten” (small) and the different forms of it. Liten or litet? “Liten” is the form we will use when referring to a noun with the gender “en”. For example: Min pappa har en..." READ »


12 September

EU sanctions: necessary, effective and timely (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Regular readers of this blog know I’ve written about the Russia-Ukraine crisis here. Today I’ve chosen to share an article by the UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington, with my readers: This week the European Union imposed further sanctions on Russia. This decision followed months of destabilisation of Ukraine by Russia, and months of political..." READ »

People-watching: September 13th
Five possible election outcomes
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Sweden elections: Who's who?
What's on in Sweden
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Feminists fight for first seats
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
How immigration became a key election issue
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
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:
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:
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.