Since May 31, Stand.earth has been fighting off an intimidation lawsuit filed by Canada’s largest logging company, Resolute Forest Products (NYSE: RFP) (TSX: RFP). Intimidation lawsuits, called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPP” suits), are often filed by large companies against much smaller nonprofits, usually with negligible hope of success on the merits.
But with an army of expensive lawyers the goal is to cost the nonprofit so much in time, money and effort that the huge company wins by waging a war of attrition.
Resolute makes more revenue in the first twelve hours of the year than Stand.earth does in 365 days. That can buy a lot of lawyers. The company wants us to stop criticizing their destructive logging practices in the Boreal Forest, rather than actually changing what they do, how they treat forests, and how they impact the people and wildlife that depend upon these forests.
Resolute’s New York law firm has come up with quite a few outlandish legal theories, including that Stand.earth and Greenpeace operate just like an organized crime syndicate and should be prosecuted under RICO, a set of laws designed to root out organized crime. In other words, a legal theory not very likely to win on substance, but designed it seems to cost a lot of time, money, and effort to defend. Resolute also filed the lawsuit in seemingly the most expensive and least convenient (for us) venue it could find: the Southern District of Georgia where Stand.earth has never had an office, where we have less than 1% of our supporters and revenue. Sounds a lot like a SLAPP suit.
All of which is why in September of 2016, we filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. These early motions are rarely granted, but we believe ours clearly has merit. We need to send a signal to all giant corporations that being a bully doesn’t pay.
We have a First Amendment to prevent exactly this kind of abuse. If you agree - join us by signing our letter to Resolute CEO Richard Garneau today.