Banana Giant Seeks Dismissal of Columbia Death Lawsuits

Chiquita Brands International wants a Florida federal judge to dismiss lawsuits claiming it paid Colombian paramilitary groups that killed hundreds of people.

A judge in West Palm Beach is hearing the banana giant's dismissal motions Friday in six similar lawsuits. Cincinnati-based Chiquita has previously admitted making payments to the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC. The company paid a $25 million fine. But Chiquita denies responsibility for killings by the Colombian groups.

The lawsuits claim Chiquita is liable for billions of dollars in wrongful death damages because it paid both the AUC and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The U.S. lists both as terrorist groups.