On Friday, February 27, 2009, New York attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, appeared before Federal District Judge Kenneth A. Marra on behalf of over 650 victims of terrorism in the case against Chiquita Brands International. Mr. Reiter’s lawsuit alleges that Chiquita paid terrorists belonging to the notorious AUC more than 1.7 million dollars and armed the terrorists with 4000 AK47 assault rifles, thereby providing material aid to a terrorist organization and aiding the AUC in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Chiquita pled guilty to violating American law by making these payments, and is liable for a $25 million fine to the United States government. Mr. Reiter’s lawsuit, and those of other attorneys seek damages for the victims of the AUC including those whose family members were murdered.
Chiquita’s attorneys had filed a motion to dismiss the complaints of all the plaintiffs, arguing that there was no direct connection to the massacres, kidnappings, assassinations and acts of intimidation committed by the AUC in the banana zone where Chiquita was doing business in Colombia through its subsidiary, Banadex. Chiquita asked the judge to dismiss the case, claiming that providing “material support to terrorism” was not a violation of international law.
Mr. Reiter argued that Chiquita knowingly gave material support to a terrorist organization, that was a substantial factor in causing the deaths and physical injuries of the plaintiffs. Mr. Reiter asked the Judge to consider rulings in other cases involving banks that launder money for terrorists, where it has been held that terrorism is a violation of international law. Mr. Reiter’s lawsuit claims $20 million in damages for each plaintiff, for a total of more than $13 billion. Other attorneys have filed similar suits, all of which have been consolidated in Florida before Judge Marra. A written decision will be issued in the future determining whether the case against Chiquita will go forward.
Personal injury news submitted by New York wrongful death attorney Jonathan C. Reiter focusing on mass disasters/terrorism with the law firm of Jonathan C. Reiter, Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2811, New York, NY 10118. Telephone (212) 736-0979 www.jcreiterlaw.com