Fresh Del Monte Produce Wins Denial of Class Certification

June 4, 2008

Cleary Gottlieb won a victory for its client Fresh Del Monte Produce on June 4 when the Circuit Court for the First Circuit of the State of Hawaii denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in Patrickson v. Dole Food Company, Inc., et al. Plaintiffs had moved to certify a multi-country class of workers claiming exposure to and injury from dibromochloropropane (“DBCP”), a pesticide used in banana and pineapple fields more than 20 years ago. The court accepted the arguments advanced both in Cleary Gottlieb’s brief and at oral argument that DBCP claims were inherently unsuitable for class certification, because of the host of individualized factual and legal questions raised by every person’s claim.

This action is one of an ongoing series of similar cases in which Cleary Gottlieb has represented Fresh Del Monte Produce since 1994. In the decade since the Patrickson suit was filed, the case has wended its way from state court on Maui, to federal district court in Honolulu, to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to the United States Supreme Court, back to state court on Maui and now to state court on Oahu.