Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co.

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Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola was a court case filed against Coca-Cola in a Miami district court in 2001, demanding a monetary compensation of $500 million for the deaths of three workers in Colombia. The plaintiff was Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal (National Union of Food Workers). The union attempted to use the Alien Tort Claims Act but the court rejected the case and the appellate court sustained it.


In 2001 Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola was filed in the Florida Third District Court of Appeal, demanding a monetary compensation for $500 million for the deaths of three workers, members of the National Union for Food Industry Workers who worked in the Coca Cola Bebidas y Alimentos plant in Carepa in northern Colombia.[1] The lawsuit was brought by the Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal (National Union of Food Workers) and alleged that Panamco, a Colombian Coca-Cola bottling company, assisted paramilitaries in murdering several union members. Even though the alleged human rights violation occurred in Colombia, the union attempted to use the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) to bring the case into a US district court. The ATCA grants U.S. courts jurisdiction in any dispute where it is alleged that a tort has been committed in violation of the "law of nations" or a treaty of the United States.[2]


On March 31, 2003, the US District Court dismissed charges against The Coca-Cola Company because the alleged wrongdoing either occurred in the United States but was too removed from the injury or occurred abroad and did not have a substantial origin within the United States.[3] Federal Judge Jose E. Martinez allowed the case to go forward against two Coca-Cola bottlers: Bebidas y Alimentos and Panamerican Beverages, but not against Coke itself.[4] On September 4, 2006, Judge Martinez dismissed the remaining claims against the two bottlers.

A Florida District Court in 2006 and the US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit in 2009 ruled for Coca-Cola's motion to dismiss. The Circuit court cites a lack of evidence to link the allegations to the Colombia government and Coca-Cola. They change it from a geographical dismissal to a subject matter and claims dismissal.

"Killer Coke" Campaign[edit]

A few months after the case, on April 16, 2003 Sinaltrainal union members launched the website,[5][6] which called for the boycott of Coke.


  1. ^ Forero, Juan (July 26, 2001). "Union Says Coca-Cola in Colombia Uses Thugs". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2005-11-09. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Foust, Dean; Geri Smith; Elizabeth Woyke (January 23, 2006). ""Killer Coke" Or Innocent Abroad? Controversy over anti-union violence in Colombia has colleges banning Coca-Cola". Business Week. 3968: 46. 
  4. ^ Collingsworth, Terry (March 5, 2006). "Another "Classic Coke" Move to Deny and Delay Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Colombia". International Labor Rights Fund. Retrieved April 9, 2006.  PDF file
  5. ^ Cohan, Jeffrey (April 29, 2003). "Coke Targeted In Union Lawsuit Case Marks Unusual Effort To Aid Labor In Colombia". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. pp. A–1. 
  6. ^ Unknown, Author (May 12, 2003). "Coca-Cola avoids lawsuit over labor leader's murder". Civil RICO Report. 19 (1). 
  7. ^[permanent dead link]
  8. ^

External links[edit]