Materials on lawsuits by companies against corporate accountability advocates

Legal accountability advocates are increasingly subject to lawsuits by companies, often for defamation. These are called Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs).  This type of legal harassment is often not intended to be successful, but rather is designed to silence human rights defenders by tying them up in costly and lengthy litigation processes.

Examples of lawsuits by companies

Legal attacks against human rights defenders from Business & Human Rights Resource Centre database

USA: Energy Transfer sues BankTrack, Greenpeace & others for allegedly disseminating false information about Dakota Access Pipeline, Aug 2017

Canada: Taseko Mines' libel lawsuit against critics of gold-copper mine to be considered on appeal after judge calls it a strategic lawsuit against public participation, Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun (Canada), 3 Jun 2017

So. Africa: MRC subsidiary sues two NGO attorneys and a community activist for alleged defamation; NGO says will resist attempts by the company to intimidate them, Centre for Environmental Rights, May 2017

Myanmar and Thai NGOs support 'Nation' reporter hit by suit for 'defaming' mining firm, Nation (Myanmar), May 2017

Honduras: DESA files defamation lawsuit against women's rights NGO over its representative's statements on the killing of Berta Cáceres, Mar 2017

ACLU Lawsuit Forces Landfill Company to Agree to Free Speech and Environmental Protections, Carolyn Fortuna, Planetsave (USA), 10 Feb 2017

Reports and statements on lawsuits filed by Natural Fruit against researcher and activist Andy Hall for alleged defamation

Hinatuan Mining sues Philippine Misereor Partnership for libel over reports on environmental issues around its operations, Joe Torres, Catholic News Asia, Jun 2016

French court hears defamation lawsuit brought by Vinci against Sherpa NGO after it alleged forced labour in Qatar, Sherpa, Jun 2016

Mitre Sports sue HBO over a report linking it to child labour in India, US jury cleared HBO of libel claims, 2015

Angola: Journalist Rafael Marques faces defamation charges over work exposing abuses in diamond industry, 2015

Magaliesberg watchdog 'slapped' by miner, Fiona Macleod, Mail & Guardian (So. Africa), Jun 2011

India: CSR Asia commentary on defamation lawsuit brought by Fibres & Fabrics & its subsidiary Jeans Knit against two European NGOs, Aug 2007

Other resources

[FR] On ne se taira pas: Site in French about SLAPPs created byfor NGOs, journalists, academics etc. targeted by these lawsuits.

Silencing Human Rights and Environmental Defenders: The overuse of Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP) by Corporations, Jeremie Gilbert Roehampton, on CSR & Business Ethics blog, 30 Apr 2018

Video interview: Andy Hall on his counter-suit against Natural Fruit & Thai authorities, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Jun 2017

Why it's getting harder (and more dangerous) to hold companies accountable, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, on openDemocracy, May 2017

6 Ways Corporate Lawsuits Kill Free Speech (and How to Fight Back!), Greenpeace, May 2017

Corporate impunity is common & remedy for victims is rare – Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Apr 2017

[FR] Rapport sur les procédures bâillons, Mazeaud Commission, Apr 2017

Canada: Ontario passes law to end strategic lawsuits stifling freedom of expression on matters of public interest, 2015

Human rights comes under corporate attack, Global Legal Post, Jan 2015

Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Jan 2015

UK Govt. tables amendment to defamation bill that Index on Censorship says will "stop corporations bullying individuals" who criticise them, Apr 2013

How about a SLAPP for your trouble?, Sudeep Chakravarti, Livemint.com (India), November 2013

Civil Liberties Defense Center – SLAPP suits

West Coast Environmental Law Anti-SLAPP Handbook, 2002