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Florida Court sanctions Costa Rican grower for continued sale of Del Monte pineapples

The Southern District of Florida has issued an order adopting portions of a previous recommendation and finding Costa Rican company Inversiones Y Procesadora Tropical Inprotsa S.A. in contempt for not complying with an order requiring it to stop growing and selling certain pineapples. However, it rejected a $16.4 million disgorgement sanction request.

The report and recommendation was given by Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis in July 2020. In this recommendation, the judge ruled to issue the defendant a fine of over $200,000 for attorney’s fees. However, damages due to the continued growth and sale of pineapples after the judgment through 2018 were not granted, although Del Monte sought $16 million.

In the lawsuit, Del Monte International had asked the court to require the defendant to stop growing and selling a pineapple variety which it claimed is an exclusive Del Monte product and comes from its seeds.  The plaintiff alleged that it should be entitled to damages since the alleged conduct had continued and the defendant had not complied with the award or final judgment, which required it to return or destroy 93% of the pineapple variety currently growing and return the seeds.

According to¸ the court previously determined that Del Monte met its burden to show that the ruling was not being followed and the defendant should be held in contempt.

Although some portions of the recommendation were approved through the last year, the final portions including the ruling on sanctions, “whether disgorgement of revenues is a proper measure of damages for contempt,” and whether attorney’s fees should be awarded to Del Monte were not approved until the present order signed by Judge Federico Moreno. The court explained that sanctions could not be given until Inprosta had the opportunity to respond and show why they had not followed the orders.

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