A Twiggs County judge ruled Monday that Wolf Creek Landfill owes a county resident money for his costs in defending himself against a company lawsuit.
The award was made under the state law that prohibits what are known as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
The ruling in favor of Twiggs County resident Cecil Fountain Jr. awards him $21,232.95 in attorney fees from the case. Fountain opposed a proposed expansion of the landfill, which he said would pollute groundwater, and he spoke against the companys application to expand.
H. Gibbs Flanders Jr., the chief Twiggs County Superior Court judge, wrote that anything Fountain said against the company was protected speech. Flanders also said Fountains disputed comments may be factually correct.
The plaintiffs factual and legal basis is problematic at best, Flanders ruled Monday. He wrote that Fountain is found to be acting in good faith because in at least two instances the facts in the previous (landfill) application were shown to be, depending upon your choice of words, incorrect or false.
A spokeswoman for Advanced Disposal, which runs the Wolf Creek Landfill, did not return a phone call Monday.
One of Fountains attorneys, Lars Anderson of Macon, said his client is waiting to see whether Wolf Creek appeals the case in the next 30 days.
The order is well written, legally sound, and I think it will be difficult to successfully appeal, Anderson said Monday.
Advanced Disposal told The Telegraph earlier this year that the case was rooted in facts and was not a SLAPP suit. Wolf Creek Landfill asked the court to dismiss the case against Fountain on the eve of a hearing into the facts of the case. Flanders upheld that dismissal Monday.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.