|This week, a federal judge in California dismissed over 200 claims in a dangerous lawsuit that could have stifled free speech rights of environmental and social justice activists. Resolute Forest Products, one of Canada’s biggest logging companies, tried to weaponize litigation by using an anti-mafia racketeering law (RICO) to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from environmental nonprofit organizations Greenpeace and Stand.earth, and five individual defendants who were leading advocacy campaigns against the corporation. This is a clear example of a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” (SLAPP), a tactic increasingly used by companies to harass and intimidate their critics by suing them into silence.
EarthRights International (ERI) is part of the Greenpeace legal team and we are happy with the strong message this sends.
In the decision, the Court dismissed the vast majority of the claims against the defendants, including all of the RICO claims. However, a few narrow claims remain. We will continue to fight these vigorously and believe we will prevail.
Will you help ERI protect our partners’ rights to free speech?
|This is by no means the only SLAPP case threatening free speech. Energy Transfer Partners – the company developing the Dakota Access Pipeline – is also suing Greenpeace, our client Krystal Two Bulls, and other activists, alleging that their support of the Standing Rock protests violated RICO and other laws.
ERI is representing Krystal and continuing to assist Greenpeace with legal defense in this case.
Yesterday’s decision does not mean corporations with deep pockets won’t continue to wage baseless legal battles against the environmental movement. That’s why ERI continues to provide legal defense and expertise to our clients and partners, and helped establish Protect the Protest, a coalition of advocates working to stop these lawsuits from occurring in the first place.
The legal defense ERI provides is pro-bono and at no cost to our clients. This means we rely on the support and donations of friends and activists like you.
Will you join us in protecting our partners and ensuring that nonprofits and individual activists and organizers (like Greenpeace, Krystal, and ERI) cannot be silenced by this kind of legal bully?
Will you make a gift today?
Thank you, from all of us.
Co-founder and Director