Today, the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a landmark dismissal of all claims against all defendants in the US$900 million case against Greenpeace and others brought by Energy Transfer Partners.
The decision to dismiss this lawsuit, which alleged Greenpeace engaged in racketeering and defamation, sends a strong message to all companies trying to silence civil society with baseless cases.
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson wrote in his order dismissing the case that, “Posting articles written by people with similar beliefs does not create a RICO enterprise,” and that, “Donating to people whose cause you support does not create a RICO enterprise.”
Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in response to the decision:
“Justice has been served. This is a huge victory not just for Greenpeace but for anyone and everyone who has ever stood up against powerful corporate interests. Today’s decision to dismiss Energy Transfer’s baseless lawsuit against Greenpeace and others sends a clear message to companies trying to muzzle civil society that corporate overreach will not be tolerated. It is also a check on corporate efforts to silence dissent.
“We must and will continue to hold Energy Transfer accountable for its corporate behavior on current risky pipeline projects like Bayou Bridge, where the company is continuing to use private security to intimidate protestors and has aggressively used eminent domain laws to secure land.
“We are confident that this decision will set a precedent that deters Energy Transfer and other corporations from abusing the legal system in their quest to bully those who speak truth to power. Greenpeace will continue to fight for the ability of all people to advocate for human rights and the planet.”
The decision to dismiss this case comes in a key moment of growing resistance to pipelines around the world. In just the past year we’ve seen more than 400,000 people around the globe join Greenpeace’s demand that leading global banks not fund Energy Transfer and tar sands pipelines in light of the threats they pose to human rights, Indigenous sovereignty and the climate.
The racketeering case dismissed today is the second case filed by Trump’s go-to law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, against Greenpeace on behalf of corporate interests. In 2016, Resolute Forests Products filed a strikingly similar strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) for CAD$300 million through Kasowitz. Last month, Judge Tigar dismissed the RICO, and most of the other claims, against all Greenpeace entities.
Greenpeace defendants in the case are represented in court by the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine.
Source: Greenpeace International