Energy Transfer Equity, et al, v. Greenpeace, Earth First! et al

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

August 22, 2017

Current Status 

Case pending in the District Court; Court denied ETP's motion to confirm service on Earth First!.

Client(s) 

The Earth First! Journal

Case Description 

In 2017, the partial owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Equity (ETE), filed a bizarre and far-fetched lawsuit naming various environmental organizations and "Earth First!" as defendants. Earth First! is not an organization, but a philosophy based on biocentrism, direct action, and not compromising with Earth-destroying corporations when fighting for the environment. Represented by Trump's lawyers, Kasowitz Benson Torres, ETE claims that Earth First! funded a violent terrorist presence at the Standing Rock protests with $500,000 and proceeds from drug sales on the site, and is part of a sprawling conspiracy with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to deceive the public about the environmental risks of pipelines.

CCR represents the Earth First! Journal, who is not named in the complaint, but became involved after ETE, unsurprisingly unable to serve the Earth First! philosophy, mailed the complaint to the address of the Earth First! Journal.

The lawsuit was brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or "RICO," a federal law that allows for criminal penalties or a civil cause of action against ongoing criminal enterprises. It is the second RICO case filed by Trump's lawyers against environmental groups in a concerted effort to silence environmental activism and divert resources from the essential work of fighting to save our planet.

Case Timeline

4/3/2018
Judge Wilson issues order saying CCR's points in its April 2d submission are "well taken," and that Energy Transfer must serve Earth First! if it is to proceed against Earth First!
4/3/2018
Judge Wilson issues order saying CCR's points in its April 2d submission are "well taken," and that Energy Transfer must serve Earth First! if it is to proceed against Earth First!
Judge Wilson issues order saying CCR's points in its April 2d submission are "well taken," and that Energy Transfer must serve Earth First! (which, of course, is impossible since it is a philosophical movement, not an organization or sueable association of any sort) if it is to proceed against Earth First! Since the Judge's prior order of 3/22/18 had denied Energy Transfer's motion to confirm service on Earth First!, this means Earth First! has not been served and therefore cannot be held liable as a defendant.
4/2/2018
CCR files response to judge's Order of 3/22/18, seeking more information about past cases purportedly filed by Earth First!
4/2/2018
CCR files response to judge's Order of 3/22/18, seeking more information about past cases purportedly filed by Earth First!
CCR files response to Judge Wilson's order on behalf of Earth First! Journal, noting that there were many other plaintiffs in the three past cases where Earth First! was claimed to be a plaintiff, and no one would have had any reason to challenge if Earth First! was capable of suing.
3/30/2018
Defendants that actually exist (Greenpeace and BankTrack) file Reply briefs in support of their Motions to Dismiss
3/30/2018
Defendants that actually exist (Greenpeace and BankTrack) file Reply briefs in support of their Motions to Dismiss
Defendants that actually exist (Greenpeace and BankTrack) file Reply briefs in support of their Motions to Dismiss
3/22/2018
Case is reassigned to Senior Judge Billy Roy Wilson, who immediately issues order denying Energy Transfer's motion for declaration of effective service on Earth First! but also denies sanctions motion, and demands CCR produce information regarding Earth First!.
3/22/2018
Case is reassigned to Senior Judge Billy Roy Wilson, who immediately issues order denying Energy Transfer's motion for declaration of effective service on Earth First! but also denies sanctions motion, and demands CCR produce information regarding Earth First!.
Case is reassigned from Chief Judge Hovland to Senior Judge Billy Roy Wilson, without explanation. Judge Wilson, known for being colorfully plain-spoken, immediately issues brief order denying Energy Transfer's motion for declaration of effective service on Earth First! but also denies sanctions motion, and demands CCR produce information regarding Earth First!, noting that he has discovered three cases where Earth First! was claimed to be a plaintiff, and reasoning that "if Earth First! can sue, it seems to me that it is subject to being sued."
3/7/3018
Energy Transfer files reply in support of motion to strike sanctions motion
3/7/3018
Energy Transfer files reply in support of motion to strike sanctions motion
Energy Transfer files reply in support of motion to strike sanctions motion
2/28/2018
Earth First! Journal files opposition to motion to strike and reply in support of sanctions motion
2/28/2018
Earth First! Journal files opposition to motion to strike and reply in support of sanctions motion
Earth First! Journal files opposition to motion to strike and reply in support of sanctions motion, noting cases where third parties have sought sanctions
2/21/2018
Energy Transfer files motion to strike Earth First! Journal's sanctions motion
2/21/2018
Energy Transfer files motion to strike Earth First! Journal's sanctions motion
Energy Transfer files motion to strike sanctions motion, claiming Earth First! Journal lacks standing to seek sanctions because it is not a plaintiff or defendant in the case
February 8, 2018
Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners file a consolidated response to the Greenpeace and BankTrack motions to dismiss
February 8, 2018
Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners file a consolidated response to the Greenpeace and BankTrack motions to dismiss
February 7, 2018
Earth First! Journal and CCR file motion in federal court seeking sanctions on plaintiffs and their attorneys
February 7, 2018
Earth First! Journal and CCR file motion in federal court seeking sanctions on plaintiffs and their attorneys
January 10, 2018
Earth First! Journal and CCR notify plaintiffs of intention to file a motion seeking sanctions in federal court
January 10, 2018
Earth First! Journal and CCR notify plaintiffs of intention to file a motion seeking sanctions in federal court
December 4, 2017
CCR opposes motion for declaration of effective service
December 4, 2017
CCR opposes motion for declaration of effective service
November 28, 2017
Greenpeace, BankTrack move to dismiss complaint
November 28, 2017
Greenpeace, BankTrack move to dismiss complaint
November 11, 2017
Energy Transfer Equity moves for declaration of effective service
November 11, 2017
Energy Transfer Equity moves for declaration of effective service
August 22, 2017
Energy Transfer Equity files complaint
August 22, 2017
Energy Transfer Equity files complaint