June 1, 2016

SHOE, MEET OTHER FOOT: Greenpeace, which has called for RICO investigations of many companies, now facing RICO suit. “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 100-plus-page complaint (and appendix), 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. . . . I confess that I’m no big fan of RICO, particularly when used to fight what is ultimately a political battle, but if the statute may be deployed against climate skeptics (as Greenpeace has urged), I see no reason why it can’t be used against environmentalist groups as well, particularly if (as Resolute alleges) some groups are deliberately fabricating evidence as part of their media and fundraising campaigns. This last point is important, for Resolute is not merely disputing Greenpeace’s rhetorical claims or disputing its conclusions (though it does this). Resolute also maintains that Greenpeace officials and affiliates deliberately falsified evidence (such as by doctoring photographs).”

I wonder if any state attorneys general will be named later. And expect a sudden onslaught of worries about RICO’s extreme reach.