Today Senior United States District Judge Sam R. Cummings, with the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, roundly dismissed the frivolous Rackateering lawsuit brought by Texas climate denier Leonid Goldstein against leading environmental organizations, foundations, and activists for their climate activism and advocacy. The lawsuit, brought as a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), was an ignorant attempt to shut down and censor climate activists by claiming that they engaged in a “scheme” of “climate alarmism” and further alleged that if global warming is occurring, such warming is expected to be globally beneficial according to the complaint. The lawsuit attempted to violate Defendants’ First Amendment rights, and the Court not only denied Plaintiffs attempt to file a supplemental complaint, but dismissed the current lawsuit with prejudice (they can’t refile and try again). The final step of this legal charade will include making this Plaintiff pay for the costs of wasting taxpayer resources by awarding the over 30 organizations their full attorney fees and costs in order to recoup the costs of being hailed into court as defendants.
The lawsuit alleged:
“1. This is a civil suit against Climate Action Network and other corporations, who engaged in a long-term criminal scheme, involving a false claim that anthropogenic release (or emissions) of carbon dioxide caused a dangerous “global warming” or a dangerous “climate change”, and persecution of the dissidents or demanding government actions, based on this false claim, including money transfer. In fact, the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide significantly increases agricultural production worldwide. The surface warming, theoretically caused by increased concentration of carbon dioxide, is insignificant and almost undetectable, and is expected to be globally beneficial.
- Beginning in early 1988 and continuing through the present (the “Scheme Period”), the Defendants and other enterprise members acted in concert with each other in order to further their criminal scheme (the “Climate Alarmism Enterprise”). Each defendant has participated in the operation and management of the Enterprise, and has committed numerous acts to maintain and expand the Enterprise.”
Although almost comical in nature, this lawsuit is just one of several SLAPP Rackateering suits being filed by multi-national corporations and their reactionary allies against U.S. based climate activists and organizations. A similar frivolous SLAPP suit alleging racketeering activities has been filed by Resolute, a Canadian logging company who sued Greenpeace and other environmental organizations for informing the world that they the logging corporation was destroying the Boreal Forest in Canada. The disingenuous corporation continues to try and malign public interest organizations who seek to protect the public interest and it is only a matter of time that this SLAPP suit is also thrown out of court. The extractive industries are levying their huge financial resources and legal team in an attempt to chill the constitutional rights of groups and individuals to engage in climate activism. The fossil fuel industry and its allies are clearly abusing the Court process and trying to distract activists from the pressing work of organizing mass movements to fight catastrophic climate change. The corporations hoped to pull money, legal resources, donors, and growing public support away from the nonprofit organizations and activists engaged in this fight.
The Civil Liberties Defense Center has developed specific expertise and resources to combat these frivolous lawsuits and will provide free legal support in order to combat the egregious abuse of the legal system by these frivolous plaintiffs. Climate activists are already responding to threats from the fossil fuel industry by redoubling their efforts to protect people and the planet.
You can read the full complaint and Court opinion here: