Attorney General Becerra: DIRECTV Agrees To $9.5 Million Settlement for Violations of California’s Hazardous Waste and Unfair Competition Laws
Action Taken in Partnership with Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley
SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley today announced a settlement with DIRECTV to resolve allegations that its California facilities unlawfully disposed of large volumes of hazardous waste – including hazardous batteries, electronic devices, and aerosols – and committed additional violations stemming from the mismanagement of such items. These acts constitute violations of California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law, and of California’s Unfair Competition Law, as such conduct gives DIRECTV a competitive advantage over other regulated entities that are complying with the law. On November 21, 2017, by stipulation of the parties, the Alameda County Superior Court entered a final judgment incorporating the terms of the settlement.
“Unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste can lead to serious health and environmental risks. That is why DA O'Malley and I are holding DIRECTV accountable today,” Attorney General Becerra said. “The California Department of Justice will continue working to protect the health and well-being of our communities. We will prosecute those who violate our environmental laws.”
“My Office is dedicated to enforcing laws that protect the environment and ensure fair business practices. Any company doing business in Alameda County and in California must abide by these laws. The illegal disposal of hazardous waste pollutes our soil and our water and can be harmful to the health of humans as well as the environment,” said District Attorney O’Malley. “I thank the Attorney General for his leadership on these important issues and I am confident that we will continue to make strides in holding businesses accountable and keeping our environment free from toxic pollution.”
As part of the settlement, DIRECTV will be required to pay more than $8.9 million for civil penalties, costs, and projects furthering environmental protection; will be bound by a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law; and will have to spend more than $580 thousand over the next five years to enhance environmental compliance at its California facilities. Additionally, DIRECTV will be required to hire an independent auditor to perform three audits of DIRECTV’s compliance with the injunctive terms of the judgment.
The settlement and final judgment follow an extensive investigation by the two offices. The investigation included a series of inspections of dumpsters belonging to DIRECTV facilities. The inspections revealed that DIRECTV was routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes. During the relevant period of the investigation, DIRECTV operated 25 facilities in California, and all 25 facilities were unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste.
In November 2014, the Attorney General and Alameda DA resolved a similar action against AT&T through a stipulated final judgment. Because DIRECTV was acquired by an AT&T affiliate in July 2015, the parties to this settlement have stipulated to amend the prior AT&T judgment to include terms applicable to DIRECTV.
Copies of the complaint and stipulation for entry of amended final judgment are attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.