Current SLAPP Suits:
Resolute Forest Products and Kasowitz Law Firm SLAPP Stand.earth and other Environmental Organizations
On May 31, 2016 Resolute Forest Products filed a $300 million (CAD – Canadian dollars) lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and other claims against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics), and five individual staff members of these independent organizations. We represent Stand in this case. Resolute is represented by Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, the firm that has represented Donald Trump since 2001.
After filing a motion to change venue, the case was transferred to the federal court for the Northern District of California on May 16, 2017, when the Court ruled that Resolute failed to demonstrate that the case had sufficient ties to Georgia. On October 16, 2017, the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled in our favor and dismissed all of the logging company’s frivolous claims—although unfortunately the Judge gave Resolute leave to amend the complaint. Attorneys for the activists and environmental organizations were able to make Resolute pay their attorney fees and costs because they prevailed in the SLAPP suit. Exactly three weeks later, Resolute’s lawyers filed a repackaged version of the same meritless claims in the same court. We have filed another motion to dismiss the case, we had oral argument in front of the court, filed supplemental briefing, and are now just waiting for a Court decision. Stay tuned!
Participation in Anti-SLAPP Task Force: Protect the Protest
We knew from experience, and so did others, that collective resistance must be made to protect dissent and protest against frivolous SLAPP lawsuits. The courts are no place for this kind of corporate bullying to silence free speech.
Along with groups like ACLU, 350, Center for Constitutional Rights, EFF, and Rainforest Action Network, we have helped put together a task force of groups that have experience with SLAPP suits, both being the target of them, and being part of the resistance against them. Lawyers, journalists, communications professionals, Know Your Rights trainers and activists are converging to say: an attack on one is an attack on all.
Here are the 3 pillars of the work of the Task Force:
- Building Resilience to SLAPPs– We provide resources and training for civil society organizations, community leaders, journalists, and the broader public on how to best protect themselves from SLAPPs and what to do if they’re targeted. This includes a network of attorneys to defend those facing SLAPPs, especially individuals and small organizations with extremely limited resources.
- Exposing SLAPPs and Those Who File Them– We draw on our own organizations’ campaigning, communications, and legal expertise to support public interest advocates and watchdogs targeted by SLAPPs. This includes campaigning against the biggest SLAPP offenders, as well as legal defense where resources allow.
- Campaigning on Strategic Issues– When a specific SLAPP poses a broader threat to civil society or to democracy, we mobilize our collective resources to protect the rights to free speech and peaceful protest. Likewise, when opportunities arise to advance anti-SLAPP policies or laws, we engage in close collaboration with other stakeholders.
For more information, check out the new Protect the Protest website, https://www.protecttheprotest.org/.