Osen LLC in the News
By CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The families of six Americans kidnapped and killed in Colombia during the 1990s by the FARC terrorist organization reached a settlement with banana giant Chiquita Brands International on Monday, the morning trial was to begin, according to court documents.
A notice of settlement was filed just as jury selection was to start in West Palm Beach federal court. Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
A Florida judge has denied a motion from the fruit company for summary judgment, meaning that in the absence of a settlement or successful legal challenges Chiquita Brands could be the first U.S. corporation to go to trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). A court date has been set for Feb. 5.
“For the families who filed this case 10 years ago, it is gratifying to finally have their day in court,” said Gary M. Osen, managing partner of Osen LLC, the law firm that argued the motion on behalf of the plaintiffs before the district court.
“We’re confident that the evidence will show that Chiquita made a calculated business decision to pay people they knew were terrorists,” Osen said.
(CNN) -- Tania Julin remembers the deep gut pain she felt when she found out nearly three years ago that Chiquita Brands International had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Marxist rebel group in Colombia that had abducted and killed her missionary husband.
“We’re obviously gratified that the case will go forward,” Gary Osen, the lawyer for the missionaries’ families, said in an e-mail. “This is a significant victory for the victims’ families, but it’s only a first step towards accountability for Chiquita.”
Chiquita Brands International Inc., owner of the namesake banana label, may be forced to pay more than $780 million, or $18.20 a share, if found complicit in the murders of five American missionaries by Marxist rebels a decade ago in Colombia.
Gary Osen, one of several lawyers for the plaintiffs, said his clients’ lawsuit—along with at least four others accusing Chiquita of complicity in killings carried out by rebel groups—would be brought under the civil provision of the anti-terrorism law.