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24 Jan 2019

Sarah Aron, Center for International Environmental Law

Commentary: Court dismisses SLAPP suit against environmental activists intended to silence their advocacy

"A win for advocacy: Court dismisses SLAPP suit against environmental activists," 

Around the world, threats against those who speak out to defend their environment and human rights are growing... But this week, the court sided with activists and not the corporation trying to bully them. Once again, the district court in California dropped most of the charges in Resolute Forest Products’s case against GreenpeaceStand.earth, and five individuals. In May 2016, Resolute filed a CAD$300-million lawsuit against Greenpeace and associates under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, claiming that the groups’ advocacy against unsustainable logging practices in the Canadian Boreal Forest amounted to racketeering... This bogus lawsuit is representative of a growing trend of large corporations trying to suppress civil society through... SLAPPs... SLAPPs disguise themselves as legitimate lawsuits, but in reality, they’re an abuse of the justice system, designed to silence criticism and to harass, intimidate, and wear down activists whose only “crime” is shining a light on environmental harms, human rights abuses, and bad corporate practices... A growing awareness of SLAPP suits has spurred over half of US states to adopt anti-SLAPP statutes, and a growing pile of dismissals reinforces the idea that corporations shouldn’t be able to use the judicial system to undermine people’s speech. [refers to ExxonMobil]

Part of the following timelines

Resolute Forest Products lawsuits (re alleged racketeering & defamation by environmental organizations, USA)

USA: Court dismisses lawsuit by Resolute Forest Products to silence NGOs criticising its environmental impact