SDV/ACCI, Inc. v. AT&T Corp., 522 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2008)

SDV/ACCI (a consulting and staffing service company) and its principals sued AT&T after one of AT&T’s employees sent several e-mails in and outside the company stating that SDV/ACCI would no longer be providing services to AT&T because SDV/ACCI was having “financial difficulties.” The district court granted summary judgment to AT&T, but the Ninth Circuit reversed in part, holding that the common interest privilege (Cal. Civ. Code § 47(c)) did not bar the defamation action because there was enough circumstantial evidence to permit a reasonable trier of fact to find that malice primarily motivated the publication regarding SDV/ACCI’s alleged financial difficulties and that the AT&T employee did not have a good faith belief in the truth of the statements she had made.