Florida-Based Tomato Grower Ag-Mart Settles Birth Defects Lawsuit With Lifetime Financial Support for 3-Year-Old Boy Born Without Limbs
A Florida judge has approved the birth defects personal injury settlement between tomato grower Ag-Mart and the family of 3-year-old Carlitos Candelario, a boy who was born without legs or arms. Under the terms of the agreement, Ag-Mart will cover all of Carlitos’s medical costs and provide financial support for life. His medical expenses are expected to run in the millions of dollars. Carlitos’s parents, Francisca Herrera and Abraham Candelario, worked as tomato pickers for Ag-Mart in fields that were sprayed with pesticides. They filed a birth defects lawsuit against Ag-Mart in 2006, claiming that the pesticides that Herrera had been exposed to during her pregnancy caused his birth defects. Their personal injury lawsuit claims that at least three of the pesticides sprayed over the fields had caused deformities in lab animals when used on them in high doses. Florida and North Carolina health officials, however, found no connection between the pesticides and the birth defects. Carlitos is one of three babies with birth defects, born in 2005, whose parents picked tomatoes for Ag-Mart and lived in Immokalee. An expert testified that Francisca had been heavily exposed to pesticides during the first trimester of her pregnancy. In her deposition, Francisca said that the company forced her to work in fields that were freshly sprayed with pesticide and that pesticides on nearby fields also affected her. Other employees have supported her claims. Ag-Mart has voluntarily agreed to stop using five products linked to developmental problems in lab animals. The Shriner's Children's Hospital in Tampa and Miami Children's Hospital have agreed to take care of Carlitos until he turns 18. Doctors are hoping to fit him with prosthetics one day. He continues to use a wheelchair. The settlement amount is confidential. Ag-Mart continues to maintain that pesticides did not cause Carlitos’s defects. Our Florida personal injury law firm represents children and their families that have been seriously injured because of the negligence or recklessness of others. Contact The Law Office of John D. Ameen, P.A. and ask for your free consultation with one of our Florida personal injury lawyers.