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Earthline Corp. v. Mauzy

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 7, 1979.

EARTHLINE CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT,

v.

MICHAEL MAUZY, ACTING DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. IMY J. FEUER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GREEN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant Michael Mauzy, Acting Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), appeals from a preliminary injunction granted at the request of plaintiff Earthline Corporation prohibiting Mauzy, pendente lite, from disclosing to defendant William J. Scott, Attorney General, any of 450 supplemental permits for the dumping of industrial waste at plaintiff's landfill at Wilsonville, Illinois. Plaintiff cross appeals from the denial of a preliminary injunction as to the defendant Attorney General. Plaintiff's request for preliminary relief was ancillary to a complaint requesting permanent relief along the same lines.

• 1, 2 The general rule is that a party seeking a preliminary injunction must show that: (1) it has no adequate remedy at law; (2) a substantial likelihood of its success on the merits exists; (3) it is subject to immediate, irreparable injury; and (4) in the absence of preliminary relief, it will incur greater injury than would be received by the objectors if the relief were granted (Kable Printing Co. v. Mount Morris Bookbinders Union Local 65-B (1976), 63 Ill.2d 514, 349 N.E.2d 36). In C.G. Caster Co. v. Regan (1976), 43 Ill. App.3d 663, 357 N.E.2d 162, in reversing an order denying a preliminary injunction, the court stated that the requirement for a showing of a substantial likelihood of success is met if the petitioner shows that a fair question as to the basis for permanent relief exists and the court deems that the relief will probably be granted.

Defendant Mauzy asserts here that the likelihood of plaintiff's success upon the merits of its complaint was not shown because (1) the information in the supplemental permits was not confidential, (2) sections 7(b)(ii) and 7.1(a) of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, pars. 1007(b)(ii) and 1007.1(a)) permit disclosure of the information in the permits to the Attorney General, and (3) plaintiff lacks standing to sue.

Section 7(a) of the Environmental Protection Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1007(a)) states:

"All files, records, and data of the Agency, the Board, and the Institute shall be open to reasonable public inspection and may be copied upon payment of the actual cost of reproducing the original except for the following:

(i) information which constitutes a trade secret;

(iv) information concerning secret manufacturing processes or confidential data submitted by any person under this Act."

Section 3(q) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1003(q)) defines a trade secret as,

"[T]he whole or any portion or phase of any scientific or technical information, design, process including a manufacturing process, procedure, formula or improvement, or business plan which is secret in that it has not been published or disseminated or otherwise become a matter of general public knowledge, and which has competitive value. A trade secret is presumed to be secret when the owner thereof takes reasonable measures to prevent it from becoming available to persons other than those selected by the owner to have access thereto for limited purposes."

Plaintiff's first amended complaint, paragraph 12, which was admitted by defendant's answer, states that the supplemental permits sought by the Attorney General disclose,

"among other things, the identity of the generator of the waste sought to be disposed, the identity of the location from which the waste is generated, and a chemical description of the subject waste."

In connection with these allegations, it is significant to note that section 7(d) of the Act states:

"Notwithstanding subsection (a) above, the identity of substances being deposited in landfills may under no circumstances be kept confidential." Ill. ...


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