Category Archives: Nexterror v. Esther
Esther Wrightman speaks with Ezra Levant about her fight against big wind bullies.
Esther Wrightman says she could be the poster child for Ontario’s proposed new law to curb strategic lawsuits launched to silence critics. The provincial government introduced the Protection of Public Participation Act just weeks after wind farm developer NextEra Energy Canada launched a lawsuit against Wrightman, a Middlesex County anti-wind activist.
Wrightman said that when she heard about the proposed new law, “I went, ‘What? Really? I could use that, right about now.” Ontario says the law, if passed, would allow courts to quickly identify and deal with strategic lawsuits launched to intimate opponents and reduce their ability to participate in public debates. The legislation, based on recommendations from an expert advisory panel, would also reduce time wasted in court on meritless claims, the government says.
“We live in a fair and democratic society, and we believe that this law will provide a balanced approach that recognizes both the right to public expression and the importance of protection of reputation,” said Attorney General John Gerretsen.
Wrightman said that while the new law may come too late to help her, it acknowledges that strategic lawsuits are a problem. Laws to protect citizens against strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are common in the U.S., but Quebec is currently the only Canadian province with one. Read article
A big energy Corporation masquerading as poor little wind energy guys trying to help make our Province greener by hacking down big old Cottonwoods in Haldimand County and destroying an active eagle nest to “save” the birds has made their next bad move….They are suing the proverbial “little guy”.
In this case that is a diminutive mother of two who is fighting to protect her family, their heritage and our natural heritage. Esther Wrightman has been at the forefront of the resistance against industrial wind turbines in Ontario, working by day as a rock garden expert to provide for her family while her off hours activism has included managing two websites http://mlwindaction.org/ and http://ontario-wind-resistance.org and demanding accountability from politicians and industry.
Her statement of defence is an inventory of the series of bungles Nextera Energy Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of $57.2 billion dollar U.S. company NextEra Energy Ltd., formerly FPL Group Ltd., and owners of Florida Power & Light Inc., has made in the Renewable Energy Approvals process to earn itself the moniker “Next Error”. It is hard to believe such incompetence from a giant corporation has not been intentional. Read article
Ezra Levant, Edmonton Sun
A $32 billion energy corporation has filed a massive lawsuit against an Ontario environmentalist named Esther Wrightman. It’s a SLAPP suit: Strategic litigation against public participation. It’s not really about legal arguments. It’s about crushing Wrightman with legal bills and burning up her time, so she can’t spend time campaigning against them.
The lawsuit doesn’t allege Wrightman vandalized their property, or trespassed, or anything like that. Their complaint is that, on her homemade website, Wrightman mocked the company’s name. She even had the temerity to publish a satirical version of their logo. That’s it. That’s why they hired three lawyers at one of Canada’s largest law firms, McCarthy Tetrault, to sue her into the ground.
And the only reason you have not heard of this lawsuit — the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is not defending her free speech, the CBC has not put this on their nightly news — is because the corporate bully here is not an oil company like Exxon. It’s a wind turbine company called NextEra. See, that kind of bullying is OK. Read article
More on “Tilting at Windmills”: Ontario Tables Anti-SLAPP Legislation – & How It Could Cover Existing Cases
At just about the same time that news was breaking of NextEra’s controversial lawsuit against Esther Wrightman, the Ontario Government AG, the Hon. J. Gerrertsen, tabled Bill 83 – which would, if passed, introduce some remarkably positive changes to Ontario law regarding #SLAPP lawsuits. The bill, if passed, would provide much needed encouragement of public interest expression, commentary and participation. It would, indeed, serve as a serous chill against litigation of little or no merit that is intended to stifle or prevent public expressions of comment on matters of public interest. @EzraLevant, a well-known Sun News commentator, had some written and verbal comments on June 9, 2013 on the Sun website about NextEra’s lawsuit against Esther Wrightman and whether he sees it as a “SLAPP” suit.
Bill 83 would provide that if a party is sued as the result of “expression” made by a person concerning a matter of public interest, the defendant can move to have the proceedings thrown out unless the plaintiff can show that:
· The proceeding has “substantial merit”;
· The moving party has no valid defence; and
· The harm resulting from the defendant’s expression is sufficiently serious that that public interest in allowing the proceeding to continue would outweigh the public interest in protecting that expression.
Howard Knopf, Excess Copyright
A young mother and environmental activist in southern Ontario is being sued by Nextera, a wind turbine company, which is part of an an American based enterprise that has sales of about $15 billion a year. It apparently cut down a tree with a bald eagle nest, an act which she did not like and which she filmed. Here’s her video.
Here’s Nextera’s Statement of Claim, which required the efforts of three McCarthy’s lawyers to come up with a very long and fulsome list of allegations involving “Offending Material” under the the Trade-marks, Copyright, and Competition Acts and various common law torts including “common-law trade libel”, and one I’ve never heard of, namely “appropriating an insignia in which the Plaintiff has a proprietary interest.” .
As Ezra suggests, this could be another Erin Brockovich story. Moreover, Nextera is likely going to learn the lessons of the Streisand effect, which is that trying to suppress a discussion on the internet usually just draws more attention to it.
Billion dollar wind company, Nextera, sues activist Esther Wrightman, Kerwood, Ontario (Bornish project). Esther had the temerity to satirize the Nextera logo, using the term “Nexterror”, and also refused to remove a video depicting the brutal removal of an active eagles nest permitted literally “over the weekend.”
According to Jim Wiegand, a specialist in bird biology and wind turbine bird kills:
“Nobody has a history of killing eagles like the wind energy company Nextera. So if you were an eagle it would make perfect sense that their turbines would be terrifying. If you were an eagle minding your own business and had your wing severed from a slashing blade, knowing you were going to die, this would certainly seem like an act of terror. Thousands of eagles have died this way. If you had just fledged your offspring and while they were learning to hunt, had them butchered by nearby turbines, this would also seem to be terrifying. The charity that Nextera wants to donate any settlement funds to should come out and say they want no part in any of this. I think a better idea would be for Nextera to donate any settlement funds to a truly independent Wildlife Biologist, for proper wind turbine mortality and cumulative impact studies.”
Did Nextera anticipate the flurry of articles and media interest that has occurred by suing Rock Garden specialist, and anti-wind activist, Esther Wrightman? And what is the subtext to the 32 Billion (Market Capitalization) company (with numerous paid lobbyists), lawsuit that on the surface incorrectly mentions being called “terrorists” by the blogger, Wrightman, and an antipathy for satirical use of its logo? (Wrightman did not use the word terrorists, but merely changed the logo to “Nexterror,” which could be read as Terror, or Error. This satiric branding, in both shapes, it should be mentioned, has been used by many activists for some time now. Read article
Robert Bryce, The National Review
The Goliath of the wind-energy business is suing David. The defendant is Esther Wrightman, an activist and mother of two from the tiny town of Kerwood, Ontario, which sits roughly halfway between Detroit and Toronto.
Wrightman, 32, has angered the Florida-based NextEra Energy (market capitalization: $32 billion) by starting a couple of bare-bones websites, ontariowindresistance.org and mlwindaction.org, as well as a YouTube channel, which she uses to lampoon the company. In its lawsuit, filed on May 1, NextEra claims that Wrightman has misused its logo and libeled the company by calling it “NexTerror” and “NextError.” And while the company doesn’t specify the amount of damages it seeks from Wrightman, it says that it will donate any proceeds from the litigation to United Way.
NextEra owns some 10,000 megawatts of wind-generation capacity, or about one-sixth of all U.S. capacity. And the company is aggressively developing six new wind projects in Canada, one of which, the Adelaide Wind Energy Centre, aims to put 38 turbines just north of Wrightman’s home. (You can see her property and the surrounding land by going here.)
NextEra’s filing against Wrightman is a textbook case of a SLAPP suit, a strategic lawsuit against public participation. And it’s a particularly loathsome one as NextEra filed it in Ontario, the epicenter of the backlash against the encroaching sprawl of the 150-meter-high, noise-producing, bird-and-bat-killing, subsidy-dependent wind-energy sector. Read article
Thomas Walkom, The Star
After years of dismissing rural opposition to wind turbines, Ontario’s Liberal government is belatedly trying to defuse the problem. Its efforts may be too little. They are definitely late. In cities, the giant, industrial, three-blade windmills are back of mind. When, as has happened in Toronto, urban voters do object to wind turbines the Liberal government is quick to back off.
But most wind farms are slated for rural Ontario. And here, the government, until now, has been unbending. It refused to accept persistent claims from local residents that wind farms put their health at risk. It overruled municipalities that tried to regulate or ban turbines. Instead, in virtually all cases, the Liberals sided with the big, private generating companies seeking to establish these profitable wind farms.
No wonder then that the Liberals were virtually wiped out in rural Ontario during the last election. Wind turbines helped to deprive them of their last footholds. Read article
(Kerwood) – After tucking in her children at 9 o’clock, Strathroy-area resident Esther Wrightman received a knock at the door and the delivery of a summons. The Kerwood mother of two was served a court notice initiated by Nextera Energy Canada claiming she — among many things — used the company’s logo to mislead the public.
The allegation refers to videos posted on Wrightman’s website altering the Nextera logo to read “NexTerror” and “NextError.” Bayshore Broadcasting News contacted Nextera for comment, but received no response. It was five years ago she learned about the issues surrounding wind turbines when Nextera began planning a wind farm nearby. Suncor also had wind developments in the works in her home County of Lambton.
It wasn’t long after Wrightman tells us she began making videos, which she describes as honest because of their lack of scripting or editing. She says the first video featuring the altered Nextera logo was posted about a year ago, but claims she is not the originator of the terms “NextError” or “NextTerror.” Wrightman tells Bayshore Broadcasting News the community commonly referred to Nextera using the two augmented names because of their reputation for rescheduling meetings, much to the community’s dismay. Read article
Debora Van Brenk, London Free Press
Canada’s wind energy giant has slapped a Strathroy-area rock gardener with a lawsuit alleging she’s harming its reputation. In a Goliath-vs-David dispute, NextEra Energy Canada says Esther Wrightman is discrediting it, depreciating its goodwill in the community and mutilating its copyrighted logo. NextEra Energy’s operating revenue in 2012 was $14 billion.
On the other side is Wrightman, who says she can’t even afford the $144 fee to file her statement of defence. “It’s totally parody,” Wrightman said, defending her manipulation of the NextEra logo. “It’s parody and it’s fair comment on what they’ve done.”
A mother of two, whose income comes from disability supports and selling plants for rock gardens, Wrightman has been a thorn in NextEra’s side for opposing wind turbines planned for the Strathroy area. She’s also drawn the company’s ire for posting a video of the dismantling of a bald eagle’s nest in the path of a Haldimand turbine project. The lawsuit, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, contends Wrightman mutilated the firm’s logo by making it read “NextTerror” and “NextError.” It also says she infringed on copyright, made misleading statements meant to discredit the business, made false representations and showed bad faith. Read article
Calvin Luther Martin, PhD, WTS.com
On September 15, 2004, I fell down the rabbit hole into the make-believe world of “wind energy.” Nine years ago the wind turbine hucksters arrived in Franklin County, NY, oiling their way from townhall to townhall, farmhouse to farmhouse, selling the (palpably absurd) idea of ”clean, green, renewable” wind energy. (Just another snake-oil, yet spectacularly lucrative.)
For nine years, I’ve been witness to a colossal corporate scam that flourishes despite all the contrary evidence of physics, clinical medicine, economics, environmentalism—and common sense. Nine years wracking my brain for ways to vanquish it.
We tried publishing Nina’s book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment,” thinking (not unreasonably) that 300 pages of clinical and scientific evidence would shut it down. We were naive. Zealots driven by dollar bills and the magical thinking of “clean energy” countered with a tsunami of junk science in various junk formats—and, horrifically, it worked. (Never underestimate the ingenuity of corrupt fools, especially the ones with PhD’s.)
I debated the merits of suing wind companies. Nope, that was a non-starter. I pondered the likelihood of convincing local governments to reject these useless grotesqueries marching across the landscape. This had mixed results. Read article
Sarnia Lambton Independent
NextEra Energy has made good on its threat to sue a local anti-wind activist. The company, which has several wind energy projects slated for Lambton and Middlesex Counties, is suing to stop the use of “offending logos.”
The company has filed a lawsuit in Toronto saying Esther Wrightman’s use of NextError and Next Terror on her websites Ontario Wind Resistance and the Middlesex Lambton Wind Concerns. Court documents say the use of the logos “is false” and is “likely to mislead the public as to the character” of NextEra.
The company takes issue with being linked to terror. “NextEra is operating in full compliance with the law…the defendant is aware or is recklessly indifferent to the fact that the term ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist’ is reserved or organizations with extreme and violent criminal aims,” the lawsuit says adding the terms are usually linked to organizations such as Al-Qaida and Hezbollah. “NextEra is a law-abiding organization that has consulted extensively in the defendant’s community. It has committed no acts of terror or violence.”
NextEra wants Wrightman to remove all references to NextError and Next Terror and a video showing the company cutting down an eagle’s next in Haldimand County. It’s also seeking damages saying Wrightman may have gained financially through donations to the website for various wind groups. Read article
Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
NextEra Energy Canada is suing Middlesex County wind activist Esther Wrightman over altered company logos that appeared online and in videos posted to YouTube. The Canadian subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources filed a statement of claim in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto against Wrightman who has been actively opposing wind turbine projects in Middlesex and Lambton counties.
They include NextEra’s Adelaide wind farm near Wrightman’s home, as well as the company’s nearby Bornish and Jericho projects. “Our policy is not to comment on pending legal action,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said when contacted Monday. “We look forward to sharing our view on the matter with the court.” The statement of claim says any damages NextEra recovers from the court action will be donated to United Way Canada.
According to NextEra’s statement of claim, a company logo was altered to say “Nexterror,” and appeared on a province anti-wind website, as well as videos posted online. The allegations have not been proven in court. Read article
By Paul Morden, London Free Press
Middlesex County anti-wind turbine activist Esther Wrightman says she’s not giving in to a cease and desist warning from lawyers working for NextEra Energy Canada. A letter, dated March 20, was sent to Wrightman calling on her to remove YouTube videos and wind resistance website postings because of company logos altered to read “NEXTerror” and “Nextterror Bullies Canada Inc.”
“Our request is simply to not use the corporation’s registered, trademarked logo in a manner that is defamatory,” NextEra spokesperson Josie Hernandez said in an email. Hernandez said company officials attempted to contact Wrightman personally to resolve the issue before the letter from the lawyers was sent. Wrightman said phone calls where made to her home but she never spoke directly to those company representatives. “We aren’t trying to limit debate, which is clear from our letter, but we have rights in our logo that are entitled to protection under the law,” Hernandez said.
The letter from the lawyers to Wrightman mention in particular use of “NEXTerror” in a video shot in January as crews destroyed a bald eagle nest on the site of NextEra’s Summerhaven wind project in Haldimand. The tree holding the nest came down with the permission of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources. The letter from the lawyers asks Wrightman to remove that video – as well as a second one interviewing company officials about the nest – from YouTube by March 22. Read article
Heather Wright, Sarnia Lambton Independent
Esther Wrightman says she’s not about to be silenced in her fight against wind turbines in her community. Wrightman, a member of Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group, recently received a Cease and Desist order from NextEra Energy after altering the company’s logo to make it read Next-terror and NextError on signs and videos.
“This use of the NextEra logo is unsanctioned, in violation of NextEra’s intellectual property rights and defamatory, especially in conjunction with the video makers’ disparaging comments about NextEra,” Awanish Sinha of McCarthy Tetrault law firm in Toronto writes to Wrightman. “While NextEra recognizes your right to object to its projects and to express your opinions regarding wind power and provincial policies regarding green energy, you do not have a right to utilize its name and logo in any manner or to defame the company.” Sinha writes company officials tried a half dozen times to talk to the activist by phone about their concerns, but weren’t able to reach her. When Wrightman added NextTerror Bullies Canada Inc. to a blog, Sinha says the company felt it had to take legal action. “The latest manipulation of NextEra’s logo has compelled NextEra to take this action and stop this escalating abuse.”
The company told Wrightman to remove all uses of the alter logos on the Middlesex Lambton Wind Action Group and Ontario Wind Resistance blogs. It also calls for two videos – one of company workers removing a bald eagle’s nest which was in the way of a new project in Haldimand County. Wrightman says that video and another of a company official telling protestors the Ministry of the Environment gave permission for the nest to be cut, have been viewed thousands of times and have shocked people. “I really believe it has more to do with them wanting the eagle nest video down,” she says. Wrightman believes the letter is simply a threat that the company uses with people who don’t agree with their projects. Read article
Dear Mr. Sinha,
Re: CEASE & DESIST DEMAND ON BEHALF OF NEXTERA ENERGY CANADA, ULC (“NextEra”)
Thank you for the letter dated March 20, 2013 that was dropped between my doors the other day.
The reason I (and “we” the communities in rural Ontario) are referring to your client Nextera as “Nexterror”, is that we feel it is “fair comment” considering this companies actions and behaviour in the past and present in our communities.
We believe that Nextera creates “errors” and “terrors” in our community, and that these facts are well known to the public and therefore these facts are notorious.
At the same time, we have published these facts on our website: Ontario Wind Resistance. They include:
Eagle Nest/ Wildlife destruction
-The “First Video” clearly shows the destruction of an eagles nest.
-The “Second Video” shows Tom Bird of Nextera saying, “The authorization we got from the ministry of natural resources was to destroy this nest”.
Clearly this is terrorizing the community when 18 men with chainsaws and bulldozers descend on, and proceed to cut down an active eagles nest. Even those in favour of turbines are horrified by this despicable action.
You have no right to ask that these movies be removed, and in fact you did not give a single reason as to why you thought the “Second Video” should be removed, as “Nexterror” does not appear on it anywhere. It seems that Nextera would just like to bury this incident and remove the evidence from Youtube.
Below are some of the numerous reports published on Nextera’s destruction of the eagle nest and other wildlife and their habitats:
- Video: Nextera workers remove Bald Eagle nest to put up wind turbines http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/08/video-nextera-workers-remove-bald-eagle-nest-to-put-up-wind-turbines/
- Video: Nextera Energy in damage control mode on Eagle Nest removal http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/11/video-nextera-energy-in-damage-control-mode-on-eagle-nest-removal/
- Nextera turbine within 100m of active bald eagle nest in Haldimand County http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2012/11/27/nextera-turbine-within-100m-of-active-bald-eagle-nest-in-haldimand-county/
- Wind turbine company Nextera & MNR destroy Bald Eagle Nest & habitat http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/08/wind-turbine-company-nextera-mnr-destroy-bald-eagle-nest-habitat/
- Nextera California Wind Project Kills Eagle One Month After Startup http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/02/20/nextera-california-wind-project-kills-eagle-one-month-after-startup/
- Six Nations shocked NextEra takes eagles nest cuts down tree http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/10/six-nations-shocked-nextera-takes-eagles-nest-cuts-down-tree/
- One option only: be proactive & remove NextEra/Summerhaven Wind LP from Ontario http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/09/one-option-only-be-proactive-remove-nexterasummerhaven-wind-lp-from-ontario/
- Nextera ordered to pay $2.5 million and replace turbines to reduce raptor deaths http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2010/12/08/nextera-ordered-to-pay-2-5-million-and-replace-turbines-to-reduce-raptor-deaths/
- Energy company removes bald eagle nest to make way for wind turbine in Haldimand County http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/07/energy-company-removes-bald-eagle-nest-to-make-way-for-wind-turbine-in-haldimand-county/
- Wind turbine no-fly zone http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/03/15/wind-turbine-no-fly-zone/
- Southern Ontario Tundra Swan Spring Migration through wind projects http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/03/02/southern-ontarios-spring-migration-of-the-tundra-swans-through-the-wind-projects-has-begun/
- McGuinty’s legacy is a green nightmare http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/02/02/mcguintys-legacy-is-a-green-nightmare/
- HDI concerned with removal of eagle’s nest, no notification http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/17/hdi-concerned-with-removal-of-eagles-nest-no-notification/
- Bureaucrats ignored advice from biologist to leave eagle’s nest and move wind turbine in Haldimand County http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/13/bureaucrats-ignored-advice-from-biologist-to-leave-eagles-nest-and-move-wind-turbine-in-haldimand-county/
- PoV: No room for eagles in Green Energy Act? http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/11/pov-no-room-for-eagles-in-green-energy-act/
- Bald eagles versus industrial wind turbines http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/11/bald-eagles-versus-industrial-wind-turbines/
- “People have a lot of questions, and so do I” : Bird Studies Canada, Jody Allair http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/07/people-have-a-lot-of-questions-and-so-do-i-bird-studies-canada-jody-allair/
- Outrage in Haldimand over bald eagle nest removal http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/07/outrage-in-haldimand-over-bald-eagle-nest-removal/
- MNR authorizes removal of Bald Eagle nest in Haldimand Wind Development!!! http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/01/04/mnr-authorizes-removal-of-bald-eagle-nest-in-haldimand-wind-development/
- Justifying deaths of birds and bats from wind projects – sends chills down spine http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2012/12/10/justifying-deaths-of-birds-and-bats-from-wind-projects-sends-chills-down-spine/
- Are birds and turbines on collision course? http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2012/10/10/are-birds-and-turbines-on-collision-course/
- Please Comment on NextEra Permit re Bobolink in Haldimand County http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2012/02/26/please-comment-on-nextera-permit-re-bobolink-in-haldimand-county/