A U.S. court has dismissed a racketeering lawsuit launched by Resolute Forest Products against Greenpeace and other environmental groups. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed claims filed against Greenpeace, Stand.earth and individuals under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Judge Jon Tigar wrote that the defendants’ speech “constituted the expression of opinion, or different viewpoints that are a vital part of our democracy.” Resolute lawyer Michael Bowe says the ruling merely requires the Montreal-based paper and forest products company to amend within 21 days its filing to provide more details to back up its claims.
In an email, he described the ruling as not a significant setback. If the amendment is dismissed, he says Resolute would appeal and expects to prevail. However, Greenpeace says it is confident such an attempt will suffer the same fate as the court’s dismissal.
In a news release, Greenpeace says the ruling sends a message to corporations that “attacks on core democratic values like freedom of speech and legitimate advocacy on issues of public interest will not be tolerated.”
The racketeering lawsuit was heard in California after a district court in Georgia found in May that Resolute failed to show why the $300-million lawsuit should be held in the state.