Do you agree with the 11th US Court of Appeals ruling that cleared Chiquita of any liability for the victims killed by the paramilitary group that Chiquita funded? Construct an ethical argument that supports your view.

To create an ethical argument about the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals ruling for Chiquita, first review the facts of the case so you can determine your position. Then, develop the reasons you will use to support your position. Write your argument clearly in a reasonable tone with a strong conclusion.

Expert Answers

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Let's begin by reviewing the basics of the case. In 2014, the 11th US Court of Appeals ruled that Chiquita was not liable for the deaths of Colombians killed by the paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which was receiving payments of three cents per box of bananas from Chiquita. These payments stopped before 2007 when Chiquita admitted that they were illegal and paid a fine.

Family members of slain Colombians sued Chiquita under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789, which allows foreigners to present legal suits in US courts for violations of international laws or treaties. The Court did not deny that such events and payments took place, but it did rule, following a previous ruling by the US Supreme Court, that the Alien Tort Statute concerns only violations that take place within the United States or that involve US territory. Colombia is not, of course, in the US, nor is it US territory. The Court, therefore, while admitting that human rights violations had taken place, believed that it was powerless to do anything about them according to US law and could not legally hold Chiquita accountable for the actions of the AUC.

Now let's talk about the steps you should take to complete this assignment. First, you need to determine your position on the matter. Decide whether you agree with the Court's interpretation or not. You might say, for instance, that the Court's hands were metaphorically tied by the previous Supreme Court ruling, and therefore, it had no choice but to rule the way it did. Or you might argue that human rights violations should take precedence over a legal loophole.

Now develop your reasons for your position. If you are arguing for the Court's ruling, you might, for example, make the point that the Supreme Court offers the highest rulings in the country and that other courts cannot go against it. You might also note that Chiquita had already paid for its part in the matter and that the company had no control over how the money was being used or how the AUC was acting. If you argue the other position, you might point out that Chiquita had a responsibility to know the details about the groups it supported and that the fines it paid did not go to the families of the victims. You might also do some research how the Alien Tort Statute has been applied in the past, using cases you find to support an argument for flexibility in the law's interpretation.

Finally, be sure that, as you construct and write your argument, you use a reasonable tone, present your position and points clearly, and include a conclusion that sums up your claim.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 26, 2021
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