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Fighting Back Against Corporate Attacks Together, One Legal Brief at a Time

by Amy Moas

January 30, 2018

Greenpeace has been talking a lot about lawsuits recently, and today we filed another motion to dismiss one that needs to go away for good.

Participants and activists appear outside United States District Court for the Northern District of California for a hearing on the controversial racketeering case filed by logging company Resolute Forest Products to silence forest defenders and environmental organizations Greenpeace and Stand.earth. The defendants and other stakeholders had drawn attention to the company's unsustainable practices in the Canadian boreal forest.

If it seems like Greenpeace has been talking about lawsuits a lot lately, it is because we have. Corporate bullies, helped by Trump’s go-to law firm, have filed two massive lawsuits against us in the last two years. They aim to silence us. We are not alone – many of our allies and other individual activists are fighting other meritless lawsuits of their own. These Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) are not about justice or the corporations righting some kind of wrong; they are about tying up our resources in hopes that will mean we won’t fight as hard to make a green and peaceful future.

Today, we filed a Motion to Dismiss in one of these SLAPPs that already should have gone away for good.  

Almost 20 months ago, Resolute Forest Products, the largest logging company in Canada, filed a CAD$300 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit against us. Three months ago, a U.S. District Court judge threw out Resolute’s lawsuit in its entirety.  The judge also ordered Resolute to reimburse us for our attorney fees under California’s anti-SLAPP law.

But this case is not about Resolute actually winning. The company showed this by dragging out the inevitable. It filed a repackaged version of the meritless lawsuit in November, trying to suck away even more resources from our fight to protect the planet, not to mention its shareholders’ money and the court’s time. So Greenpeace is back in this fight.  Today, we filed a 40-page brief outlining why this version of Resolute’s lawsuit does not address the many deficiencies that the judge identified in the company’s claims when he dismissed this case in October.

Greenpeace activists display signs and banners that read:“#OurVoicesAreVital“ in a forest near Werbellinsee in Brandenburg to show solidarity with Greenpeace Canada, Greenpeace USA, and Greenpeace International. These Greenpeace offices were being sued by the Canadian company Resolute Forest Products in Canada and the USA for their work in forest protection. The Greenpeace offices argue that they should not be silenced.

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 Greenpeace can’t stop fighting now. Attacks on our right to dissent and speak up threaten so much more than just Greenpeace, they threaten the existence of the media and countless groups fighting for countless causes aimed at making the world a better place. That is why today there are over 30 organizations gathering in Washington, DC to discuss fighting back against SLAPPs together.

Because each and every SLAPP threatens us all, we must fight each and every one together.

Please pledge to join the fight and stand up to SLAPPs.  

And for those of you in Washington, DC, please join us tonight (January 30) for a public panel on the subject of “Defending Democracy: Defeating Legal Bullying by Corporations”. Find details below or mark the Facebook event.

Where: Busboys and Poets at 5th and K

            1025 5th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20001

When: Tuesday, January 30, 6:30 p.m.

Who: Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA will be moderating a panel discussing how corporations are using SLAPPs to silence their critics and how we all can fight back. Guests will include Rachel Meeropol, Senior Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights and Counsel to Earth First!;  Katie Redford, Attorney and Director of EarthRights International; Todd Paglia, Executive Director of Stand.Earth; and Deepa Padmanabha, Staff Attorney for Greenpeace USA.

Amy Moas

By Amy Moas

Amy Moas, Ph.D. is a senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace based in Las Vegas. She focuses on combating the drivers of deforestation around the world including palm oil, pulp and paper, and illegal logging.

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