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Jones v. St. Clair, City of

Citation: 17 ELR 20250
No. Nos. 86-1015, -1039, 804 F.2d 478/25 ERC 1330/(8th Cir., 10/31/1986)

In a Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) citizen suit alleging that overflow from a municipal waste disposal system caused eutrophication of plaintiff's lake, the court holds that submission of plaintiff's FWPCA and nuisance claims to a jury does not preclude a trial court from granting injunctive relief, costs, and attorneys and expert witness' fees. First addressing the sufficiency of the evidence, the court holds that plaintiff alleged facts warranting submission of the case to the jury. Plaintiff's evidence that the city discharged its waste without obtaining national pollutant discharge elimination system permits allowed a jury to find that the city violated the FWPCA, and expert testimony that the city's discharges directly injured plaintiff's lake warranted submission to the jury of plaintiff's common law nuisance claim. After finding no evidence that plaintiff waived his right to seek injunctive relief, the court next holds that the jury verdict on statutory liability and common law damages claims does not preclude plaintiff from obtaining injunctive relief. The court holds that the trial court, not the jury, retains discretion to grant both FWPCA and common law injunctive relief, because both claims sound in equity. The court also holds that submission of the FWPCA claim to the jury does not bar plaintiff from recovering costs and fees under FWPCA § 505(d). The trial court has the discretion to award costs and fees, but must exercise its discretion when it is validly invoked. Although not dictating a particular result on plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief, costs, and fees, the court holds that on remand the court below must exercise its discretion to consider plaintiff's claims.

Counsel for Appellant
Terrance L. Farris
7814 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton MO 63105
(314) 721-4333

Counsel for Appellee
Jack C. Harper
1600 S. Henley Dr., St. Louis MO 63129
(314) 781-0701

Before LAY, Chief Judge, and HEANEY and BOWMAN, Circuit Judges.