DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. ASKS LOS ANGELES COURT TO PROTECT NICARAGUAN WITNESSES
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California - June 10, 2010
Dole Food Company, Inc. has asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to take further actions to protect Nicaraguan witnesses who came forward last year to expose a massive fraud on the court being perpetrated by a California-based lawyer, Juan J. Dominguez, and his Nicaraguan associate Antonio Hernandez Ordeñana.
On June 4, Dole filed a motion, and submitted evidence under seal, showing that these lawyers are engaged in intimidation and harassment tactics designed to further defraud the California courts and to frighten witnesses into recanting their truthful testimony. In its brief to the court, Dole argued: “The aggressive attempts by Dominguez and Ordeñana to find . . . witnesses and pressure them into changing their testimony given under oath . . . is . . . witness tampering, a criminal act.” (See Pen. Code § 136.1.)
In a hearing on June 7, Dole presented the evidence to Justice Victoria Chaney, who stated that “[t]his appears to be blatant witness tampering.”The judge said she would consider the evidence in deciding whether todismiss the case, known as Tellez v. Dole,during an evidentiary hearing scheduled for July 7-9.
“These individuals bravely stepped forward to tell the truth and expose this blatant fraud on the courtsand they deserve protection from this outrageous harassment,” said C. Michael Carter, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Dole. “We have asked the court to step in and do whatever it can to stop this misconduct and protect these courageous individuals.”
At the hearing, Dole also presented evidence that these lawyers were making threats against Justice Chaney and the court, including in a press release that these lawyers distributed stating: “We believe in divine justice and in God, who WILL judge her if she doesn’t rectify matters.” Justice Chaney said she was going tonotify California’s Judicial Protection Section.
On June 10, Dole filed public versions of its sealed motion and supporting evidence.
Dole is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit andfresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.