If it seems like we’ve been talking about lawsuits a lot lately, it’s because we have.
Corporate bullies, helped by Donald Trump’s go-to law firm, have filed two massive lawsuits against Greenpeace in the last two years. They aim to silence us, but we are not alone. Many of our allies and other individual activists are fighting meritless lawsuits of their own. These Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) are not about justice or corporations righting some kind of wrong, but about tying up our resources in hopes that we won’t be able to keep fighting for a green and peaceful future.
Today, we filed a motion to dismiss one of these SLAPPs that should have already gone away for good.
Nearly two years ago, Resolute Forest Products — the largest logging company in Canada — filed a CAD$300 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO) lawsuit against a number of Greenpeace defendants. In case you haven’t heard of RICO, it’s a law designed to prosecute the mafia and stop organised crime (read: nothing to do with preventing peaceful activists from protecting forests).
In response to this baseless lawsuit, thousands of you raised your voices to make it clear that forest defenders everywhere will not be intimidated by corporate bullies that aim to silence us to protect their profits. And we’ve seen important progress.
Three months ago, a US judge threw out Resolute’s lawsuit in its entirety. Furthermore, the judge ordered Resolute to reimburse Greenpeace for our attorney fees under California’s anti-SLAPP law.
But for Resolute, this case has never been about winning; it’s about stopping us from fighting for forests by sucking up precious time and money. The company showed this in November when it filed a repackaged version of its meritless lawsuit. Because of this, we are all back in this fight.
Today, we filed a 40-page brief outlining why this “new” version of Resolute’s lawsuit is the same old story as the case that’s already been dismissed — and why it deserves the same fate.
There is no reason to think this new version of this lawsuit will not die the same death it did originally, but it does mean that forest lovers can’t stop fighting now. Attacks on our right to speak up threaten so much more than just Greenpeace, they threaten countless groups fighting to make the world a better place — including your right to fight for the planet you love. That’s why there are more than 30 organisations gathering in Washington, DC today to fight back against SLAPPs together.
Because each and every SLAPP threatens us all, we must fight each and every one together. Already, your voices have shown Resolute and companies everywhere that the movement for a green and peaceful future is stronger than corporate intimidation. Now it’s time to speak up again and bury this case once and for all — join the fight and stand up to SLAPPs today.
Amy Moas, PhD is a senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace USA