Lead Plaintiff Hoy Mai with her children
(Atlanta, GA.) – A U.S. federal court in the Northern District of Georgia last week ordered the Coca-Cola Company to turn over evidence related to an ongoing class action against Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol in the Thai courts. The decision, an important victory for plaintiffs representing hundreds of Cambodian families who were violently displaced to make way for an industrial sugar plantation, comes in response to a petition filed in December by Inclusive Development International, asking the U.S. court for help obtaining information relevant to their case.
Mitr Phol, one of the world’s largest sugar companies and a key supplier for Coca-Cola, is accused of complicity in the violent eviction of more than 700 families in rural northwestern Cambodia between 2008 and 2009. Coca-Cola has previously taken specific steps to investigate Mitr Phol’s role in these allegations, but has never made its findings public. Now, the Cambodian plaintiffs are demanding access to the information.
In its decision, the court found that the information sought “is essential to the full and fair adjudication of the Thai proceedings,” and ordered Coca-Cola to respond within 30 days. The decision requires Coca-Cola to turn over numerous documents and designate a representative or representatives for a deposition.
Following are responses from Inclusive Development International and the plaintiffs’ Thai Counsel:
“The information obtained we hope will shed light on the serious human rights abuses at issue in the Thai litigation,” said Sarah Jaffe, senior legal and policy associate at Inclusive Development International, in response to the court’s order. “Coca-Cola’s prompt response and compliance with the court’s request will be an important measure of its willingness to support human rights protections in the industry.”
“Access to the information Coca-Cola has could be game-changing for the communities seeking justice in this case and help pave the way for holding Mitr Phol to account after so many years,” said Sor.Rattanamanee Polkla, executive coordinator of Community Resource Centre Foundation and one of the Plaintiffs’ lawyers.
For more information on the Cambodian plaintiffs’ petition for support from the U.S. Federal Court, please see:
For more information about the case, please see: