Today's lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal is on Judge Victoria Chaney's sensational denunciation of what she characterized as perjury-coaching, injury-faking, intimidation and more in the prosecution of claims against Dole, Dow and other defendants alleging injury from a pesticide used on banana plantations in Nicaragua (see Apr. 27 and earlier coverage at Overlawyered). The Journal has strong words for the trend toward opening the U.S. legal system to tort claims from around the world, saying it has created a "torts-for-import business, whereby U.S. tort lawyers travel abroad [and] join with local lawyers to manufacture claims" whose factual basis can be "nearly impossible to challenge" later in U.S. court given the hurdles posed to evidence-gathering. It also raises a point I haven't seen mentioned much in the coverage so far:
In a related case involving Dole, the Texas plaintiffs firm Provost Umphrey is asking a federal judge in Miami to enforce a $98.5 million judgment obtained by banana farm workers in Nicaragua. Never mind that the Nicaraguan judge who made the initial ruling is the same one cited by Judge Chaney for allegedly taking bribes and fixing cases against U.S. firms.