A Los Angeles Superior Court judge reduced by more than $3 million a verdict against Dole Food Co. Inc. in a case stemming from the use of pesticides on banana farms in Nicaragua.

Judge Victoria Gerrard Chaney dismissed the punitive damages against Westlake Village-based Dole because they violated the due process clause of the Constitution by being arbitrary and excessive.

The ruling reduces the original $5 million verdict in favor of the plaintiffs to $1.58 million. That amount is under appeal by Dole.

Multiple employees working for Dole in Nicaragua filed suit against the company over claims that the use of the pesticide DBCP had left them sterile.

In November, a Superior Court jury found that six of 12 plaintiffs had not been harmed by exposure to the chemical, and awarded compensatory damages to six other plaintiffs. That verdict is under appeal.