4.21.17 IRAdvocates DynCorp Post Trial Release .pdf

Nom original: 4.21.17 IRAdvocates DynCorp Post-Trial Release.pdf
Auteur: Terry Collingsworth

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Jury Finds DynCorp Responsible for the Actions of Plan Colombia Pilots
Who Conducted Fumigations After April 2003
Contact: Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director, International Rights Advocates
tc@iradvocates.org; 202-543-5811/202-255-2198
On Thursday, April 20, 2017 a federal jury returned a verdict in the first of the test trials against
DynCorp International, the defense contractor that did the aerial fumigations in Plan Colombia.
The International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates) first filed this case in 2001 on behalf of over
2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who live near the border with Colombia and allege that they had their
farms destroyed when the toxic chemicals used by DynCorp to kill coca and poppy plants was
also sprayed on their farms. The Ecuadoran farmers also alleged that they received personal
injuries and suffered battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. After many delays
and a lengthy appeal process, the case was finally set for trial on behalf of six (6) test plaintiffs.
Theodore Leopold, Leslie M. Kroeger and Poorad Razavi from Cohen Milstein joined the case in
late 2016 to prepare the case for the April 3, 2017 trial.
The issues of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress proceeded to trial.
DynCorp’s major defense was that they were not responsible for any of the damages to the
Ecuadoran farmers because they were not flying the spray missions themselves. They asserted
the missions were flown by two groups of pilots, one from EAST, a U.S. subcontractor, and the
other from the Colombian National Police (CNP). DynCorp argued the pilots were not under
their control and they could not be held liable if the pilots wrongfully fumigated the Ecuadoran
farmers. The jury concluded that DynCorp was responsible for the EAST pilots, but that the CNP
pilots were independent contractors and not under the control of DynCorp. The jury also found
that in April, 2003, EAST took over control of the CNP pilots, making DynCorp liable for all
spray pilots fumigating after that date. Unfortunately, all of the first six test Plaintiffs had claims
that pre-dated April, 2003, so they could not determine whether DynCorp or the CNP was
responsible for spraying them. The jury was accordingly unable to award damages to these
Plaintiffs because they could not prove which group of pilots sprayed them.
Moving forward, DynCorp will be estopped from arguing they are not responsible for any harm
caused by the spray pilots post-April, 2003. We look forward to the future trials for the
remaining 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers that will focus on damages and the reckless actions of the
DynCorp pilots.
Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director of the IR Advocates stated, “we have been fighting for
justice for the 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers for over 16 years, and we will continue the fight until we
achieve justice.”

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