Suit linking Dole to Colombia militias dismissed

Dole Food Co. says a Los Angeles judge has dismissed a lawsuit that accused the company of making payments to illegal far-right Colombian militias that killed thousands.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in April 2009 on behalf of 185 Colombians who are relatives of 51 men allegedly murdered by a militia belonging to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC.

The lawsuit said victims were either involved in labor union organizing or were small farmers challenging attempts by Dole to obtain their land and plant bananas.

Dole had denied the allegations from the outset and called the lawsuit grossly irresponsible.

Plaintiffs' attorney Terry Collingsworth says he plans on filing the lawsuit in federal court.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.