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Judge throws out lawsuits alleging Chiquita funded massacres

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out 10 lawsuits filed against banana giant Chiquita Brands International by Colombian families alleging the company funded a paramilitary that killed them.

The Palm Beach Post reports that District Judge Kenneth Marra dismissed the lawsuits this month, saying the families can't definitively link their loved ones' deaths to the paramilitary group or Chiquita.

Marra said the Colombian regions where the deaths happened "were brutalized" by various factions during that country's civil war.

The lawsuits are serving as "bellwethers" to help determine whether 7,500 similar cases have a chance of succeeding. Marra sent his decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, acknowledging his word is not final.

Chiquita declined comment. Attorney Jack Scarola is representing 5,000 families and said they will push on.