SAN FRANCISCO, October 16, 2017 — Today, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision [1] dismissing all claims in the controversial case that major logging company Resolute Forest Products [2] filed against against Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, and Greenpeace International, Stand.earth and individual defendants, including claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act.

The court’s decision sends a clear message to corporations that attacks on core democratic values like freedom of speech and legitimate advocacy on issues of public interest will not be tolerated. District Judge Jon S. Tigar wrote in his order dismissing the case that “the defendants’ speech constituted the expression of opinion, or different viewpoints that [are] a vital part of our democracy.” Noting that “Greenpeace’s publications at issue rely on scientific research or fact”, the judge added that “[t]he academy, and not the courthouse, is the appropriate place to resolve scientific disagreements of this kind.”
Resolute will be allowed to amend its filing as a formality, but Greenpeace is confident that any such attempt will meet a similar fate.
Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in response to the decision:
“We are pleased the court unequivocally threw out this attempt to abuse our legal system and silence legitimate criticism on matters of public concern. This is very positive news for all of us, for the values that we share and for Canada’s boreal forest. Resolute’s claim that organizations and activists committed to the conservation of the forests were part of a criminal enterprise is absurd and a sad symptom of a wider assault on constitutional rights and democracy. The logging company’s allegations were a clear attempt to silence the voices that advocate for the environment. Recently, Energy Transfer Partners — the oil company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline — decided to follow a strikingly similar path [3] under the legal wing of none other than Trump’s go-to law firm. The similarities are apparent and this underhanded playbook targeting free speech should be a cause of real concern.”
Greenpeace Canada Head of Forest Campaign Shane Moffatt added:
“This decision sends a clear message that these types of cases are a form of legal bullying and simply a waste of money and time. Environmental groups will continue to speak out about destructive forestry practices and must not be intimidated. It is time for Resolute to drop all its meritless lawsuits against Greenpeace [4] and work collaboratively to develop long term sustainable solutions that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, ensure the survival of species at risk like the Woodland Caribou as well as supporting  local communities that depend on Canada’s boreal forest.”
ENDS
Notes to editors:
[1] Click here to download a copy of the order or copy this to your browser: https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-canada-stateless/2018/06/MTD-Decision-GP-RFP-1.pdf
[2] On May 31, 2016 Resolute Forest Products filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in the United States District Court for Southern Georgia, against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., STAND.earth (formerly ForestEthics), and five individual staff members of these independent organizations. The case was transferred to Northern California on May 16, 2017 when Resolute failed to demonstrate that the case should be heard in Georgia.
This is Resolute’s second lawsuit against Greenpeace. In 2013, the company filed a CAD$7 million defamation case against Greenpeace Canada and two staff members in Ontario, which is still pending. Click here for more information about the existing legal cases between Resolute Forest Products and defendants, or copy this to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/resolutelawsuits/
[3] On August 22, 2017 Energy Transfer Partners filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit under under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Click here for more information about the existing legal cases between Resolute Forest Products and defendants, or copy this to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/greenpeace-v-energy-transfer-partners-facts/
[4] Greenpeace also maintains that the Canadian lawsuit is intended “to limit, or gag,” Greenpeace Canada’s ability to advocate on these matters of public interest, and it therefore represents a classic case of Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”). As a typical SLAPP suit, the suit seeks millions of dollars in damages all the while imposing overwhelming litigation costs with the strategy of seeking to expand the litigation as broadly as possible.
Media contact:

Rania Massoud, communications officer, rania.massoud@greenpeace.org

, 438-929-7447