The Los Angeles Business Journal’s cover story, “The Big Slip Up,” tells the story of a filmmaker who became so enamored with a plaintiff lawyer's battle with Dole Foods that he filmed a documentary titled, “Bananas.” His documentary follows a plaintiffs' attorney who recruited large numbers of alleged victims who claimed they became sterile from Dole’s use of pesticides in Nicaragua.
The problem is that reality tells a different story -- a Los Angeles judge has ruled that many of the alleged plaintiffs never even worked for Dole and are not sterile. The judge may even refer the attorney to the state bar for sanctions. While Dole Foods technically won this case, the company still had to pay out a whole lot of money to defend itself for something that was untrue in the first place.
Dole has threatened to sue both the filmmaker and the Los Angeles Film Festival if the piece is shown. It’s a shame that Dole’s image will be tarnished again when film previews later this month. The trailer gives the impression that the filmmaker is sympathetic to the plaintiffs, even with the fabricated case. Maybe the filmmaker could do a follow up documentary on the disciplinary action the personal attorney is now facing for his fraudulent claims and extortionist acts. The film might have a new audience. It could become mandatory ethics training for first year law students.