Resolute makes last-ditch effort in ‘zombie lawsuit’ threatening free speech, environmental advocacy

On November 8, Resolute Forest Products re-filed their legal claim in the controversial free speech case brought against Stand.earth and Greenpeace under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act.

On November 8, Resolute Forest Products re-filed their legal claim in the controversial free speech case brought against Stand.earth, Greenpeace and individual defendants by the Canadian logging company under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision October 16 dismissing the case, but the court gave Resolute “leave to amend” their claim.

The judge’s decision set a precedent that activities conducted by the defendants to draw attention to Resolute’s unsustainable clearcutting in the Canadian boreal forest are legitimate advocacy protected by the First Amendment. The case brought by Resolute had so little merit that the judge ruled it was a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) for all the state law claims, and ordered Resolute to pay attorneys’ fees to Stand.earth and Greenpeace for those claims.

Stand.earth Executive Director Todd Paglia said in response to Resolute’s re-filing:

"The court has sent a clear message that unfettered corporate threats to free speech will not stand up in court. This is now a zombie lawsuit — but the end is coming soon. Resolute’s ‘amended complaint’, filed by Donald Trump’s go-to law firm, trots out many of the same arguments that led to the lawsuit being dismissed. This lawsuit will meet the same fate as other attempts to silence environmental advocacy efforts — with abject failure. It is past time for Resolute’s Board of Directors to reel in its rogue CEO Richard Garneau, who continues this losing strategy to attack free speech — a great way to continue alienating its customers and spending millions."

 
BACKGROUND

Filed by logging company Resolute Forest Products in May 2016, the CAD$300 million case is calling for individual activists and independent environmental organizations like Greenpeace USA and Stand.earth, to be labeled a “criminal enterprise” under anti-racketeering (RICO) laws originally created to prosecute the mafia.

Greenpeace and Stand.earth argued the claims are part of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), intended to silence critics of Resolute’s unsustainable logging practices in Canada’s boreal forest.
Donald Trump’s go-to law firm -- Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP —  is representing Resolute in the case. In August 2017, the same law firm filed another racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace, this time representing Energy Transfer Partners — the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read more in a blog post by Stand.earth Executive Director Todd Paglia: https://medium.com/@toddpaglia/stand-with-me-on-october-10-a-moment-of-truth-in-trumpian-lawsuit-9506e2bc2e4c

Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Stand.earth, virginia@stand.earth, 510-858-9902