Industrial Waste & Debris Box Service v. MurphyAnnotate this Case
The California Integrated Waste Management Act obligated local agencies to enact comprehensive waste management plans that would eventually divert half of their trash from landfills, Pub. Res. Code, 41780(a)(1), (2), and authorized local governments to issue franchises and licenses to private entities to provide services relating to the collection, transport, handling and disposal of solid waste. Plaintiff hauls waste under franchise agreements with cities in Sonoma County. Defendant, a waste management consultant, prepared a report for one of plaintiff’s competitors that questioned the accuracy of statements in plaintiff’s public reports about the percentages of the waste materials it collected that were recycled and thereby diverted from landfills. Plaintiff’s complaint alleged defendants’ report was false and defamatory and injured plaintiff’s business. Defendant filed an “anti-SLAPP” motion to dismiss. The trial court held defendants met their burden of showing plaintiff’s claims involve speech concerning a matter of public interest and are covered by the anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure 425.16 -425.18.4, but denied defendants’ motion finding that plaintiff demonstrated a probability of success on the merits. The court of appeal reversed, plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case of falsity regarding defendants’ estimated diversion rates.