A Dramatic Law Suit and Trial
Dominguez, in a sort of high stakes ambulance chase, went down to Nicaragua to meet with banana plantation workers who'd been exposed to Nemagon, and sign them up -- 10,000 in Nicaragua, alone -- as plaintiffs in what was to become a high profile international law suit, Tellez vs. Dole Food Corporation. To pursue the suit, Dominguez partnered with Duane Miller, the San Francisco-based attorney famous for successfully fighting a toxic tort case involving DBCP. Bananas chronicles that law suit from its beginnings to the verdict.
Setting the Stage
Filmmaker Fredrik Gertten uses dramatic archival footage, as well as on camera interviews with workers in Nicaragua, to show how Nemagon permeated their work environment, and spilled over into the rustic shelters provided for them. Filmed worker depositions indicate the extent of their exposure to the chemical. And, they reveal that they have not been able to procreate. Seeing their work conditions is infuriating and hearing their testimony is heart wrenching. By providing this kind of background and showing sequences filmed at the trial, Gertten presents a well-structures and sympathetic case in favor of the workers.
It's Still Not Over
In the case of Bananas, although the film's denouement is the end of the trial, the story does go on. Attorney Dominguez had to face and fight charges of fraud. And, then, the film itself has come under attack by corporate interests in a way that's reminiscent of the challenge that filmmaker Joe Berlinger has faced over Crude. And, thousands of Nicaraguan banana workers continue to suffer the effects of exposure to hazardous pesticide.