Intercon Sentencing, Defamation, and Charity vs Charity Grudge Match

Chicago's Hall of Mirror Balls

Several people heard a "whoosh" sound while reading the April Fools Day Blog.  The BAN vs ERA of Canada - two recognized tax charities - defamation lawsuit was dropped about the same time.  But ERA's leader Bojan Paduh (a refugee of Bosnia during the 1990s civil war) is someone I got to know as a result of the lawsuit.  His anger at BAN is absolutely seething in a way I have not heard since Brian Brundage sued the NGO 6 years ago. (For April Fool reference, see email from BAN at bottom).

I told Bojan that I had indeed, more than once, considered a defamation lawsuit against BAN. Brian Brundage (like Bojan) had asked if I was interested in joining class action (shared legal cost) approach.  I spoke to an attorney about it in 2012, when Basel Action Network told a Chicago Newspaper that I was "lying through my teeth" and that the "state of the art" reuse and recycling facilities I had visited and eyewitnessed in Asia were a "myth". According to the reporter, BAN warned him against even listening to me, stating I was mentally ill and that everyone in the recycling community knew it.
"Most libel cases are filed by private citizens. There are reasons for that. Private citizens have a much lower bar to hurdle. They have to prove that the statement was factually wrong, that it was published, that it referred to them and damaged their reputation—and that somebody is responsible for it. That the person who made the statements was negligent." - Guy Bergstrom, "To Sue or Not to Sue: Libel"
Now BAN has learned a thing or two from their experience paying attorneys to defend them in defamation and liable lawsuits.  The 2012 attack on me was certainly explicit and personal, not against a company and not a vague "opinion".  They explicitly warned a reporter not to talk to me, and gave reasons why I was not credible.  Because BAN had to take the unusual step of apologizing and retracting their statements, I get contacted a lot for advice from others wanting to sue BAN. But they have learned to be a little more cautious in some cases (like using the term "likely illegal" against ERA, instead of "illegal", as they claimed in 2012).

Instead of suing, I accepted BAN's apology, which was run in the same Chicago Patch newspaper. I was not really satisfied with the apology, because it did not remove the insult or racial profiling I originally objected to. I was not the person being defamed, it was the Tech Sector overseas, the poor people who make a lot more money repairing rich peoples stuff than they can make repairing poor peoples stuff.

Garrison vs American Retroworks

The landlord of the Closed Loop Recycling (CLRR) certainly has a mess to clean up.

We will be submitting a claim in the near future ourselves. Unfortunately, our attorneys don't want us to make the case in the papers, yet.

But the headlines already generated calls from our clients.  So here are a few points of fact that need to be considered in any story.

NGO Bravely Intervenes in Seattle Laptop Donation

[April 1, 2019  Seattle, Washington]  It was a close call for a local Seattle charity, which nearly received a dozen working laptops from a Canadian reuse organization last month.

Fortunately, Basel Action Network was quick to intervene, notifying the charity by email that the working laptops - while free -  were, in fact, used goods.

"We try to sabotage these before they are handed out," said Executive Director Jim Phuckett. "Had these gotten into the hands of a needy person, they might have gone for years using the device, not even realizing they were accessing the internet and typing term papers using 'e-waste'!"

A Word from The Recycling Industry that Sponsors Us

This blog is supported by international trade and recycling markets, which for centuries saved forests  and canyons and coral islands from the mining and forestry it takes to produce consumer goods from virgin material.

An excellent framing of today's so-called 'recycling crisis' is available today on Twitter. Follow @AdamMinter for decades of perspective.

This isn't to say there are not winners and losers. Buyers and Sellers markets always create those, and we don't want to discount the pain from those who have lost pay, or their recycling jobs. But the only way to truly lose is to stop recycling.