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Judge Orders Resolute Forest Products to Pay Almost 1 Million Dollars to Greenpeace

One of the highest monetary awards ever under California’s anti-SLAPP statute 

by Valentina Stackl

April 23, 2020

Judge Orders Resolute Forest Products to Pay Almost 1 Million Dollars to Greenpeace

© George Nikitin / Greenpeace

San Francisco, April 23, 2020 — Logging Giant Resolute Forest Products, which has waged meritless lawsuits against multiple Greenpeace offices and individual staff members since 2013, was ordered yesterday to reimburse defendants a total of about  $816,000 USD to cover attorneys’ fees and costs [1] related to dismissed legal claims that were intended to silence critics of the company’s controversial environmental record.

This is the latest favorable decision for Greenpeace in the U.S. federal lawsuit that started over four years ago. Resolute’s lawsuits are clear examples of  Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) [2]. The goal of a SLAPP suit is not to win in court, but instead to intimidate defendants into silence and exhaust them of their resources. In addition to Resolute undoubtedly spending vast sums on its own lawyers, it now must cover a large portion of the attorneys’ fees incurred by those it sued. Despite almost the entirety of the lawsuit already being dismissed in January 2019, Resolute continues to pursue this SLAPP tactic in an attempt to drain Greenpeace resources and distract the organization from other valuable work. But, in this case, the bully is left to foot the bill. The two Greenpeace entities in the United States [3] that Resolute sued requested the payment of their attorneys’ fees and costs as allowed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, most of which were granted in the court’s order. This historical award is one of the highest monetary figures ever under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. 

Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in response to the decision:

“This decision shows that Resolute made a very expensive mistake coming after Greenpeace for our work protecting Canada’s boreal forest. The judge’s decisions both to dismiss the majority of the claims in this case and now awarding substantial attorneys’ fees affirm that Resolute’s divisive and bullying tactics are a waste of time and resources. The court’s decision should be a warning to other corporations and powerful interests that legal attacks on free speech and public advocacy are bad business decisions.” 

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

[1] Click here for a copy of the order.

[2] In 2013, Resolute filed a CAD$7 million defamation case against Greenpeace Canada and two staff members in Ontario, which is still pending. 

On May 31, 2016 Resolute Forest Products filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., STAND.earth (formerly ForestEthics), and five individual staff members of these independent organizations. 

In January 2019, a federal judge dismissed the RICO claims, along with most of Resolute’s other  claims, and dismissed in full Greenpeace Fund, Inc., STAND.earth, and two individuals.  

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] Greenpeace, Inc. and Greenpeace Fund, Inc

Contact: 

Valentina Stackl, [email protected], +1 (734) 276 6260

Valentina Stackl

By Valentina Stackl

Valentina Stackl is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural communications specialist and storyteller. As Senior Communications Officer, Valentina works on Democracy (including criminalization of protest) and Climate for media, storytelling, and other communications projects.

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