BAN Denies Defamation Allegations Filed by Intercon

Environmental group launches countersuit against electronics recycler.

September 18, 2012

The attorneys representing The Basel Action Network (BAN), Seattle, have responded to a recent lawsuit filed by Chicago Heights-based Intercon Solutions that acuses BAN and its Executive Director Jim Puckett of defamation against the company. 
In a response, BAN has denied the allegations and has filed a counterclaim against Intercon asking for “declaratory relief” to restore BAN’s full credibility and to recognize that BAN has told the truth in the matter regarding the export of electronic scrap shipped to China by Intercon. 
According to BAN, the organization removed the case from Illinois State Court and moved it to Federal Court in Chicago.
The Seattle-based law firm John Phillips Law Group PLLC and the Chicago-based law firm Winston and Strawn are representing BAN. 
John Phillips, BAN’s legal counsel, says, “BAN intends to vigorously defend itself and its most valuable asset – its credibility. BAN is not going to be intimidated by this lawsuit or prevented from pursuing the public interest through objective investigation and reporting of the exportation of hazardous waste to the developing world. We will not rest until the truth in this case is known to all concerned.”
The Intercon lawsuit followed BAN's refusal to grant certify Intercon Solutions under its e-Stewards Certification program for electronics recyclers. BAN says it refused Intercon the license because it obtained clear documentation that containers on Intercon's premises were shipped to China and Hong Kong, which is a violation of the e-Stewards Standard. In accordance with e-Stewards program's policy, Intercon was investigated and subsequently suspended from the possibility of becoming certified for at least two years. 
In this case, BAN says it photographed intermodal containers leaving the highly secured property of Intercon Solutions and tracked them to China. One container was opened by Hong Kong authorities at BAN’s bequest. Hong Kong authorities notified BAN and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the container contained hazardous electronic waste and was illegal to import into Hong Kong. BAN subsequently made public what it had discovered and its reasons for suspending Intercon Solutions.