Resolute Forest Files RICO Fraud Suit Against Greenpeace

Greenpeace lawsuit Resolute

From a June 1 Volokh Conspiracy piece by Jonathan Adler in the Washington Post titled “No Peace for Greenpeace” about the big legal trouble it is in for making the mistake of picking on Resolute Forest Products:

“Earlier today, Resolute Forest Products filed a civil RICO suit in a federal district court in Georgia, alleging a pattern of defamatory and fraudulent behavior by Greenpeace and allied organizations. … [According to the complaint] Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise” that have waged a deliberately defamatory campaign against Resolute, misrepresenting the company’s practices and environmental record in order to raise funds and promote Greenpeace’s environmentalist agenda:

“The common purpose of the Greenpeace Enterprise was to target Resolute with a disinformation campaign that could be used to fraudulently induce millions of dollars in donations from individual donors and foundations that could be used to fund the salaries of the enterprise members and its leaders, perpetuate more fraudulent fundraising, and expand the campaign to direct attacks on Resolute customers that would provide even more powerful fundraising opportunities.”

Resolute’s response was remarkable for several reasons. One, Resolute Forest Products is a Canadian firm based in Montreal, Quebec, and its RICO lawsuit was filed in Augusta, Georgia under an American law. Two, it trashed Greenpeace with unprecedented detail in a 124 page court complaint (with a 36-page appendix of charts laying out each charge) alleging a conspiracy between the extremist group and like-minded green groups to destroy the company with lies, slander and malicious intentional interference with economic relations. Three, it is the only example of a corporate entity mounting a full scale counterattack against an environmental group with a lawsuit, a public campaign, and the guts to boldly face down a wealthy, foundation-funded million-member global eco-monster.

But this is not the result of some recent Greenpeace mischief. There is a long backstory that also landed in court, in Canada that time. In 2012 Greenpeace claimed that Resolute Forest Products was violating Canadian forestry practices, but retracted its claims when Resolute threatened legal action. Even then, Greenpeace kept spreading sensational stories and videos far and wide, including images of a remote insect damaged forest, pretending it was Resolute logging. So, Resolute sued Greenpeace for “defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations” and sought $7 million Canadian in damages, saying it has lost U.S. customers including Best Buy. Greenpeace tried to soften the charges by having details removed.

But Superior Court Justice F. B. Fitzpatrick rejected Greenpeace’s motion to strike part of the Resolute complaint that details the environmental group’s activities around the world. Not only did Justice Fitzpatrick reject Greenpeace’s motion and rule against them, but he also wrote an Appendix listing every incriminating detail Resolute had found, and titled it Reasons for Judgment. The Appendix is an integral part of the court’s decision against Greenpeace. Here is the Appendix as Justice Fitxpatrick wrote it: COURT FILE NO.: CV-13-0164