A July 16 article in Canada’s Financial Post reports that Greenpeace Canada has lost a pivotal legal decision in defending the suit Resolute Forest Products brought against it in May 2013, alleging that Greenpeace Canada engaged in “defamation, malicious falsehood, and intentional interference with economic relations” to victimize the forest products company, including by “threatening and intimidating its customers.”
According to the Financial Post, on July 15, an Ontario judge ordered Greenpeace Canada to reimburse Resolute $22,000 in legal costs, but that’s not all. The nonprofit is “to deliver its statement of defense within 10 days” and face Resolute’s claim for “general damages” of C$5 million and additional punitive damages of C$2 million.
The claims are related to allegations Greenpeace Canada circulated about Resolute in connection with Resolute’s compliance with the Boreal Forest Initiative, which the ENGO alleged was inconsistent with commitments. Resolute disputed the allegation and even obtained what appeared to be an apology from its antagonist; however, Greenpeace Canada nonetheless launched a market campaign against the company, which decided that a legal defense was worthwhile.
The Financial Post’s reporter, Terrence Corcoran, suggests that the case is “shaping up as precedent-setting and as a bell-wether for the future of relationships between ENGO activists and their corporate targets.”