Giving Jarndyce some competition at Chiquita …

The litigation section of company filings often reminds us of Jandyce and Jarndyce, the interminable lawsuit that is the backdrop of Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House, a case so long-running and convoluted that

“[t]he little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world.”

Compare that, then, with a tax case that Chiquita Brands International (CQB) has been pursuing in Rome — seeking “the refund of additional consumption taxes paid between 1980 and 1990,” as the company puts it in the quarterly report it filed earlier today.

In March 2008, the company won a “favorable decision” in court, and the Italian government didn’t file an appeal before its right to do so expired last year. As a result, Chiquita finally recorded a È3 million gain in this most recent quarter, two thirds of which represented interest on the È1 million of principal.

Not that this marks the end of Chiquita’s decades-long tax fight in Italy, mind you. As the filing goes on to note,

“The company has a number of other similar claims pending in different Italian jurisdictions and any gains that may occur will be recognized as the related gain contingencies are resolved.”

That could take more time still, Chiquita warns: “The March 2008 Rome ruling has no binding effect on the claims in other jurisdictions, which may take years to resolve.”

Image source: Joe Gratz via Flickr


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