Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOLE) today announced the signing of a definitive settlement agreement with the Provost & Umphrey Law Firm, L.L.P., which with full implementation will bring to an end all of their lawsuits brought against Dole and Dole entities on behalf of foreign farm workers who claim injuries from alleged exposure more than 30 years ago to the agricultural chemical DBCP. The settlement includes five lawsuits in the United States and 33 lawsuits in Nicaragua, which includes any and all Nicaragua judgments and plaintiff claims associated with Provost & Umphrey. The 33 Nicaragua cases represent approximately $9 billion in claimed damages and, in seven of those cases, two judgments totaling $907.5 million. Dole will not fund the settlement by making any payments until specific conditions are satisfied, including receiving a signed release from each plaintiff, dismissals of cases and judgments, and a good faith settlement determination by the Los Angeles Superior Court that is presiding over four of the U.S. cases. The Los Angeles Court has set November 3, 2011 for the good faith determination, to assess and confirm the fairness of the settlement to all parties. Full implementation is targeted to occur by the end of 2011. The settlement will not have a material effect on Dole's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Michael Carter, Dole's Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary said: “Dole appreciates the commitment by Provost & Umphrey and their clients to resolving this long-standing dispute and looks forward to completing the full implementation of the settlement. The professionalism exemplified by Provost & Umphrey made possible this tremendous accomplishment.” Carter added that: “This settlement is a business-based solution to this dispute, without any causal connection between DBCP and the plaintiffs’ allegations. It furthers Dole’s plan to find possible business-based solutions for all DBCP claims, even though there is no reliable scientific basis for alleged injuries from the agricultural field application of DBCP.”
This release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "expects," "believes," "intends," "anticipates" and similar expressions. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; energy supply and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises and security risks in developing countries; international conflict; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.