Greenpeace International has won the latest round against Canadian manufacturer Resolute Forest Products in an ongoing defamation and racketeering case.
On 31 May 2016, Resolute filed a CAD$300m lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act in the United States District Court for Southern Georgia against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace, Greenpeace Fund and STAND.earth (formerly ForestEthics), as well as five individual staff members of these independent organisations.
Resolute has branded the advocacy group a “global fraud” in its complaint and said its customers have been scared off from doing business with the company “when Greenpeace spread false information”, accusing the logger of “environmentally unsound forestry practices in Canada’s evergreen Boreal Forest”.
However, on 16 October a San Francisco federal judge dismissed all claims in the lawsuit and said Resolute can revise and refile its claims.
Greenpeace USA general counsel Tom Wetterer said: “This is very positive news for all of us, for the values that we share, and for Canada’s Boreal Forest.
“The logging company’s allegations were a clear attempt to silence the voices that advocate for the environment.”
Resolute’s lead US counsel Michael J. Bowe said: “The court dismissed the complaint for failure to allege certain elements of our claims with sufficient detail and it provided Resolute with leave to correct those purported deficiencies in an amendment.
“We will correct those purported deficiencies in an amendment and proceed with the case.”
Greenpeace and Resolute are involved in two lawsuits – in 2013, the manufacturer filed a CAD$7m defamation case against Greenpeace Canada and two staff members in Ontario, which is still pending.
A spokesman for Resolute told TWM: “On the Canadian front, our separate and distinct case against Greenpeace continues to progress.
“This case addresses both defamation and intentional interference with commercial relations.
“After years of delay tactics by Greenpeace, they are required to produce discovery by mid-December.
“In terms of the Canadian action, the amount claimed will be revised as discovery proceeds.”