Logging Company Resolute’s Lawsuits to Silence Greenpeace

Page - October 20, 2016
Resolute Forest Products has initiated multi-million dollar lawsuits and is seeking to have their environmental critics found to be a criminal enterprise. Find out what’s at stake for the environment and free speech...

The Cases

Greenpeace Canada protest at Montreal’s Mount Royal Cross, 2013

© Dan Mathieu 2013

Following a series of revelations on its unsustainable forestry activities, Canada’s largest logging company Resolute Forests Products (TSX: RFP) took legal actions in Canada and the United States against several individuals and environmental groups.

On May 23, 2013 Resolute filed a $7 million (CAD) lawsuit for defamation and economic interference in the Ontario Superior Court against Greenpeace Canada and two of its staff members. This was the first legal effort by Resolute to try to silence the longstanding Greenpeace campaign to protect the Canadian Boreal forest, which includes calling out companies to stop their unsustainable logging practices.

In striking out parts of Resolute's defamation pleadings, a panel of appellate judges with the Ontario Superior Court ruled that Resolute had attempted to "greatly expand the scope of the litigation and transform the trial into an inquiry into Greenpeace

On May 31, 2016 Resolute filed a $300 million dollar (CAD) lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)  in the United States District Court for Southern Georgia, against Greenpeace International and U.S. Greenpeace entities, as well as Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics), and five individual staff members of these organizations. RICO was originally conceived of to prosecute the mafia, and, in allowing plaintiffs to recover treble damages, provides a uniquely powerful means to intimidate advocacy groups into silence.

The claims by Resolute in this second lawsuit include defamation and alleged violations of U.S. anti-racketeering laws, calling Greenpeace a “global fraud” and claiming “soliciting money, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s primary objective.”

Greenpeace considers these lawsuits to be meritless and obvious SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) tactics intended to silence Greenpeace and other critics of Resolute’s logging practices in the Canadian forest.

Over 100 independent non-profit and media organizations have spoken out against Resolute’s RICO lawsuit and the threat it poses to free speech. Greenpeace, Stand.earth and other advocacy groups have the right to free speech and serve a vital role in speaking out on matters that are of public interest and concern. That is the bottom line in both of these cases.

For decades, Greenpeace Canada has worked in close collaboration with First Nations, governments, corporations and unions in Canada to deliver a sustainable forest products industry, healthy local communities, and science based conservation.

We will not be silenced.

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