Dole Banana Workers’Pesticide Exposure Suits Revived

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By Perry Cooper

Sept. 2 — Dole Foods Co., Occidental Chemical, Chiquita Brands and others are back on the hook for allegedly exposing banana plantation workers to toxic pesticides ( Chavez v. Dole Food Co. , 2016 BL 287855, 3d Cir. en banc, No. 13-4144, 9/2/16 ).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit revived the workers’ putative class action Sept. 2.

In August 2015, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit affirmed dismissal of the workers’ suit by a Delaware federal court because identical claims were pending in another federal court.

But on second look, the en banc Third Circuit held that the “serious possibility that no court will ever reach the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims” after 20 years of litigation is “untenable.”

It remanded the case to the Delaware District Court, “expressing our sincerest hope that it proceeds with more alacrity than it has to the present date.”

HendlerLaw, Massey & Gail and Perry & Sensor represented the plaintiffs.

Gibson Dunn represented Dole. Vinson & Elkins, and Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor represented Occidental Chemical Corp. Blank Rome, and Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman represented Chiquita.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at

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