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Article

25 Oct 2017

Author:
Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation

Greenpeace Beats Back a SLAPP Lawsuit—for Now

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“Game, set (match not yet)” to Greenpeace. So said Jim Wheaton, analyzing the judge’s ruling in a landmark lawsuit brought against Greenpeace by a $3.5 billion logging company represented by Donald Trump’s personal attorneys. On behalf of Resolute Forest Products, lawyers...accused the activist group of racketeering, arguing that Greenpeace’s campaigns against Resolute’s logging practices in Canada amounted to a criminal enterprise.

In his October 16 ruling, Tigar referenced California's SLAPP law, which requires a plaintiff "to prove actual malice by the defendant," said Wheaton, a founder of the First Amendment Project..."The judge said that [Resolute] didn't meet that burden."Nevertheless, the case...is not over....Judge Tigar's ruling did dismiss Resolute's lawsuit, but it did so with "leave to amend." Thus the logging company can file an amended complaint by November 6. Greenpeace et al. will then respond, and Tigar will issue a decision.

Twelve days before those oral arguments, Science published one of the most alarming studies of global environmental trends to appear in decades...The world’s tropical forests have been so degraded that they are no longer carbon sinks but rather carbon sources, reported scientists...The Greenpeace case matters here, because keeping forests intact requires containing the tendency of companies and governments to outpace ecological limits.

“We see this lawsuit as an attempt to silence, vilify, and criminalize activism,” Annie Leonard, the executive director of Greenpeace USA, said..."every minute we’re in a courtroom is a minute we’re not protecting the forest.”

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