Description: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) action by Dakota Action Pipeline developers against Greenpeace and other organizations.
Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. v. Greenpeace International
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/14/2019 Order Download Motions to dismiss granted and motion for extension of time to serve denied. North Dakota Federal Court Dismissed RICO Claims Against DAPL Protestors. The federal district court for the District of North Dakota ruled that the developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) failed to establish claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Greenpeace and three individual anti-pipeline protestors. Greenpeace allegedly raised money based on false information about DAPL’s impact on the environment and Native American lands and provided funds to support DAPL protestors. One of the individual defendants was allegedly an organizer for the Red Warrior Camp, an encampment of protestors who allegedly delayed the construction of DAPL and damaged plaintiffs’ property. A second individual allegedly received training from Earth First! (which had already been dismissed from the lawsuit) and used an oxy-acetylene cutting torch to cut holes in the pipeline in Iowa. The third individual, a pipeline campaigner for Greenpeace, allegedly trained anti-pipeline protestors in Louisiana. Other named individual defendants had not been served. The court found that the plaintiffs’ allegations were insufficient to establish a RICO “enterprise” because although the defendants shared the common purpose of opposing DAPL, there was “no ongoing organization, no continuing unit, and no ascertainable structure distinct from the alleged RICO violations.” The court also pointed out problems with the amended complaint’s allegations of a pattern of racketeering activity, including shortcomings in the allegations of predicate acts of wire and mail fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering, and interstate transportation of stolen property, and the absence of allegations concerning how these alleged predicate acts caused the plaintiffs’ injury. The court dismissed the RICO claims with prejudice, declined to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims, and denied plaintiffs’ motion for an extension of time to serve. 02/11/2019 Memorandum of Law Download Memorandum of law filed by plaintiffs in opposition to Ruby Montoya's motion to dismiss. 01/28/2019 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), 12(b)(4), 12(b)(5), and 12(b)(6) filed by Ruby Montoya. Dakota Action Pipeline Protester Moved for Dismissal from Pipeline Developers’ RICO Suit. In January 2019, a second individual defendant moved for her dismissal from the Dakota Action Pipeline (DAPL) developers’ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) action against Greenpeace and other environmental groups and activists who opposed and protested against DAPL. The defendant—who described herself as a lifelong Arizona resident “raised as a person of faith and conscience” who “has spent the majority of her young life engaged in community service and public interest activism”—argued that there was no allegation that she was connected in any way to the alleged enterprise other than “an apparent shared desire to stop the pipeline.” She also argued that the court lacked personal jurisdiction and that there was insufficient process and service of process. 01/25/2019 Notice Download Notice of supplemental authority filed by Greenpeace Fund, Inc. Greenpeace Fund, Inc. notified the court of order granting in part and denying part motions to dismiss and strike in another case involving RICO claims against Greenpeace, Resolute Forest Products, Inc. v. Greenpeace International, No. 3:17-cv-02824 (N.D. Cal.). 01/25/2019 Reply Download Reply filed in support of Two Bulls' motion to dismiss and motion to quash improper service. 01/11/2019 Opposition Download Memorandum of law filed by plaintiffs in opposition to Two Bulls motion to dismiss and motion to quash improper service. In opposition to defendant Krystal Two Bulls' motion for dismissal from the case, the plaintiffs argued that Two Bulls had participated with other defendants in a criminal enterprise “to finance, organize, and perpetrate violence, vandalism, and other illegal activity to obstruct construction and operation” of DAPL; they contended that the First Amendment did not protect the alleged conduct. They also asserted that Two Bulls was liable for violations of North Dakota racketeering law, criminal trespass, and conspiracy. 12/21/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) and motion to quash improper service under Rule 12(b)(5) filed by Krystal Two Bulls. Dakota Action Pipeline Protester Sought Dismissal from Pipeline Developers’ RICO Suit. In December 2018, two individual defendants moved for their dismissal from the Dakota Action Pipeline (DAPL) developers’ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) action against Greenpeace and other environmental groups and activists who opposed and protested against DAPL. Krystal Two Bulls—who described herself as “an Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne woman, United States Army veteran, and longtime activist for environmental justice, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and anti-militarism—argued both that the plaintiffs had failed to serve her within the allotted time and that the plaintiffs’ claims were inconsistent with the First Amendment and inadequately pled. 10/03/2018 Order Download Order issued granting in part and denying in part plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and for limited John and Jane Doe discovery. The court allowed the plaintiffs the "standard time" to serve the parties newly added in the amended complaint and denied plaintiffs' request to conduct limited discovery regarding John and Jane Does. 09/18/2018 Opposition Download Opposition filed to motions to dismiss amended complaint. 09/17/2018 Response Download Response filed by Greenpeace Fund in opposition to plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and for limited John and Jane Doe discovery. 09/14/2018 Response Download Response filed by Greenpeace International et al. in opposition to plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and for limited John and Jane Doe discovery. 09/04/2018 Motion Download Motion for reconsideration and for limited John and Jane Doe discovery filed by plaintiffs. 09/04/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum filed in support of Greenpeace Fund, Inc.'s motion to dismiss. 09/04/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum in filed in support of Greenpeace International et al.'s motion to dismiss amended complaint. Greenpeace Defendants Moved to Dismiss Amended Complaint. On September 4, the Greenpeace defendants filed new motions to dismiss, arguing failure to state plausible claims under RICO or for defamation, tortious interference, or criminal trespass. 08/22/2018 Order Download Order issued giving plaintiffs 30 days to identify and serve all Doe Defendants. 08/22/2018 Order Download Order issued dismissing Earth First! from action and allowing plaintiffs 30 days to identify and serve Doe Defendants allegedly associated as, or representatives of, Earth First! Earth First! Dismissed from Dakota Access Pipeline Developers’ RICO Lawsuit. On August 22, 2018, the federal district court for the District of North Dakota dismissed the defendant “Earth First!” (EF) from a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit brought by the developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The court dismissed for failure to effect service. The court had issued an order to show cause on July 23, 2018, requiring that the plaintiffs show cause as to why EF should not be dismissed. The court noted in the order to show cause that the plaintiffs had served Earth First! Journal (Journal), which claimed that EF was a movement not affiliated with Journal. On August 3, the court ruled that Journal was not a proper party to the suit and denied leave to conduct discovery on Journal. The court further ruled that the plaintiffs’ service of another nonparty on July 27 was “wholly insufficient to provide notice to an entity subject to suit that allegedly provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund an international terrorist, drug-smuggling RICO enterprise.” In its August 22 order, the court said the plaintiffs’ amended complaint (filed on August 6, 2018) did not establish that Earth First! was an entity subject to suit but granted the plaintiffs 30 days to identify John and Jane Doe Defendants who allegedly operated as associates of, or held themselves out as representatives, of EF. In a motion on September 4, the plaintiffs asked for limited discovery on John and Jane Does. 08/06/2018 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed. The plaintiffs filed their amended complaint after the court dismissed one defendant from the case on July 24 and then denied, on July 25, other defendants’ motions to dismiss without prejudice to renewal if the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint “containing concise and direct allegations” against each named defendant. In its July 25 order, the court warned the plaintiffs that they had failed to state plausible RICO claims against defendants Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Fund, Inc., and Greenpeace, Inc. and had failed to comply with basic rules of pleading, but that they had supplied sufficient information to permit amendment rather than dismissal. 08/03/2018 Order Download Plaintiffs' motion to amend or for leave to conduct limited discovery granted in part and denied in part. 08/01/2018 Response Download Response filed by plaintiffs to court's order to show cause, or in the alternative, motion filed for leave to amend the complaint. 07/25/2018 Order Download Order issued denying Greenpeace motions to dismiss without prejudice to renewal if plaintiffs file an amended complaint. 07/24/2018 Order Download BankTrack's motion to dismiss granted. North Dakota Federal Court Dismissed Dakota Access Pipeline Operators’ RICO Claims Against Dutch Foundation. The federal district court for the District of North Dakota found that Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (Energy Transfer), the operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), had failed to state a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim against BankTrack, a Dutch not-for-profit foundation described as using “engagement and public pressure to stop banks from financing specific projects it disagrees with.” The court found that Energy Transfer’s allegations failed to state a plausible RICO claim. The court noted that BankTrack’s individual RICO predicate conduct was limited to sending letters and posting blogs for the purpose of limiting funding for DAPL. The court said this conduct was not plausibly or reasonably related to arson and violence allegedly used by unassociated groups and individuals to stop construction of DAPL. In addition, the court found that Energy Transfer did not establish that it suffered injury caused by RICO predicate conduct, that it was a “victim” of BankTrack’s alleged fraudulently induced donations, or that allegedly defamatory communications were within the zone of interests of mail and wire fraud statutes. Because the complaint’s allegations against BankTrack were insufficient to sustain RICO claims, the court also concluded that it could not exercise personal jurisdiction over BankTrack based on nationwide RICO jurisdiction or Rule 4(k)(2). In addition, the court concluded that personal jurisdiction was not established under North Dakota’s long-arm statute. 07/23/2018 Order Download Order issued requiring plaintiffs to show cause as to why Earth First! should not be dismissed. 02/08/2018 Memorandum of Law Download Memorandum of law filed by plaintiffs in opposition to moving defendants' motions to dismiss. 01/10/2018 Motion Download Motion for sanctions filed by Earth First! Journal. 11/28/2017 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by BankTrack. 11/28/2017 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by Greenpeace International. 08/22/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Dakota Access Pipeline Developers Filed RICO Action Against Environmental Groups. Two companies that led development of the Dakota Access Pipeline filed an action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Greenpeace International and other environmental activist groups. The companies—Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (together, Energy Transfer)—alleged that they were the latest business to be targeted by “a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims.” Energy Transfer asserted that the defendants and other parties had “manufactured” a crisis and engaged in an illegal campaign against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and had worked together to carry out racketeering activity, that included supporting acts of terrorism; defrauding donors, supporters, and state and federal treasuries; engaging in tax fraud and interstate drug trafficking; and transporting and transmitting misappropriated funds and property through interstate commerce. The complaint alleged numerous misrepresentations regarding the pipeline project, citing the campaign’s charges that the project was a “climate destroying project” that would ensure “guaranteed destruction of the planet,” which the complaint called “a sensational lie.” The complaint asserted that the enterprise had exploited “legitimate concerns about mitigating climate change to dupe the public into supporting a campaign that does the opposite” and that the exploitation “lays bare that [the enterprise] is motivated entirely by money, not its proclaimed concerns about environmental impacts.” Energy Transfer alleged that the “scheme’s dissemination of negative misinformation devastated the market reputation of Energy Transfer as well as the business relationships vital to its operations and growth.” In addition to racketeering and conspiracy counts under RICO, Energy Transfer also asserted claims of state law racketeering, defamation, tortious interference with business, and common law civil conspiracy.