activist defense

on the intersection of activism and legal systems

Tag: slapp

québec court of appeal refuses to hear case brought against canadian community group

Having identified recurring problems in a landlord’s building, including cockroaches, mold, dirt, and doors that never locked, a Canadian community group called Oeil distributed leaflets to tenants and successfully represented a tenant against the landlord at the rent board. In 2012, the landlord’s family sued Oeil for defamation, seeking $5.6 million. According to yesterday’s CTV News article, two courts have now rejected the lawsuit:

With the help of a social activist lawyer, Oeil managed to have the lawsuit tossed out because it was considered abusive, and meant to ruin the organization with legal fees. It’s commonly called a SLAPP lawsuit. Last month the Quebec court of Appeal also refused to hear the … case.

Oeil is now entitled to reimbursement for its court costs and legal fees from the landlord’s family.

ontario court orders greenpeace canada to pay legal costs to canada’s largest logging company

Canada’s largest logging company, Resolute Forest Products, filed a $7 million defamation lawsuit against Greenpeace Canada in May 2013. Yesterday an Ontario Divisional Court tribunal ordered Greenpeace Canada to pay $22,000 in legal costs to Resolute. According to Greenpeace Canada,

Resolute, formerly AbitibiBowater, operates and sources from large areas of the Boreal Forest, including in the Montagnes Blanches “Endangered Forest” in Quebec and the Trout Lake-Caribou “Endangered Forest” in Ontario. The company has a long history of unsustainable activities in Canada’s Boreal. It is involved in disputes with First Nations communities for logging in areas without their consent and its operations threaten iconic species such as the woodland caribou.

Legal action of this kind, brought by a corporation against an activist or group opposing the corporation, is referred to as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Most SLAPPs are legally meritless but still achieve their purpose, which is to chill public debate regarding an issue (e.g., forest destruction). Greenpeace has 10 days to file a response.

dylan powell given thirty days to pay marineland’s court costs

Last week Justice Richard Lococo ordered Dylan Powell, co-founder of Marineland Animal Defense (MAD), to pay Marineland’s court costs related to legal action the theme park brought against Powell in December. The legal action succeeded in limiting MAD’s protest activities, as Lococo imposed new restrictions on MAD in August. Lococo’s August 9 order effectively criminalized leafleting at the Marineland entrance and exit, prevented activists from using megaphones on site, and prohibited signs that included the words “abuse,” “torture,” “criminal,” “animal abuse,” or “arrest John Holer” – the owner of Marineland.

Legal action of this kind, brought by a corporation against an activist or group opposing the corporation, is referred to as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). In this case, Marineland had requested that Lococo order Powell to pay more than $24,000 in fees or costs. In deciding on $10,000 instead, Lococo considered Powell’s lack of wealth.

Powell says he doesn’t have $10,000, so Marineland’s request for court costs may be a pyrrhic victory for the notorious theme park.