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Chiquita Asks Court To Toss Terror Payments Case

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A supervisor displays Chiquita banana boxes at the Santa Cruz banana plantation on August 2, 2013 in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico. (Source: John Moore/Getty Images)

A supervisor displays Chiquita banana boxes at the Santa Cruz banana plantation on August 2, 2013 in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico. (Source: John Moore/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Produce giant Chiquita Brands International has asked the U.S. court to drop lawsuits, against the company, filed by thousands of Colombians whose relatives were killed in a civil war.

At a Thursday hearing, a Chiquita attorney asked an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel to dismiss the lawsuits. A ruling is unlikely for months.

The company said the U.S. is the wrong place for the lawsuits to be pursued.

Chiquita once had huge banana operations in Colombia and paid $1.7 million to a right-wing paramilitary group responsible for the deaths. Chiquita says Colombia is the proper lawsuit forum.

Lawyers for the Colombians say the cases belong in U.S. courts because Chiquita is headquartered in the U.S. and made decisions here about the payments.

Chiquita pleaded guilty in 2007 to U.S. criminal charges over the payments and paid a $25 million fine.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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