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24 Apr 2023

Greenpeace International

USA: Judge dismisses CA $100 million SLAPP lawsuit against Greenpeace brought by Resolute Forest Products

"Greenpeace defeats $100 Million lawsuit in victory for free speech", 21 Apr 2023

Today, a federal court in California dismissed a seven-year lawsuit brought by Resolute Forest Products against a number of Greenpeace staff members and entities, including Greenpeace International and Greenpeace USA. The Canadian logging company sued the Greenpeace defendants for CA $100 million in an attempt to silence and bankrupt them, after criticism of its unsustainable forestry practices.

“Today’s decision is a reminder of the need for governments around the world to enact robust anti-SLAPP laws. Resolute was able to waste the US federal court system’s time for 7 years with its farcical claims. They do deserve congratulations for one thing: uniting civil society against such tactics and reminding other corporations that they can end up with egg on their face if they use their financial muscle to silence critics,” said Daniel Simons, Greenpeace International Senior Legal Counsel Strategic Defence...

A related, decade-long legal case Resolute has brought against Greenpeace Canada is ongoing and will hopefully be dismissed on similar grounds.

A US federal judge had previously knocked out all but two out of 296 statements Resolute claimed were defamatory. In today’s ruling, he finds that Resolute has failed to show that the Greenpeace defendants acted with “actual malice” when making the two remaining statements, a requirement to be able to win the claim. The judge therefore granted the motion for summary judgment, closing the case before trial...

“The Court today sent a clear message—we will not be bullied into silence by corporations. Today’s decision is a huge win for free speech, but more must be done to ensure that corporations can’t abuse the legal system. Not everyone can afford to litigate a case for seven years...” said Greenpeace USA Deputy General Counsel Deepa Padmanabha.