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United States v. Hopewell, City of

Citation: 11 ELR 20474
No. No. 80-0662-R, 508 F. Supp. 526/15 ERC 1821/(E.D. Va., 01/30/1981)

The court rules that the Commonwealth of Virginia may not intervene as a plaintiff in an action instituted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the City of Hopewell, Virginia for violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). EPA initiated an enforcement action pursuant to § 309 of the FWPCA, and the Commonwealth sought to joint the action as a plaintiff. The court first determines that § 309(e) does not provide the court with jurisdiction because that section requires that a state can only be made a party defendant when a municipality is sued. Moreover, § 505 of the FWPCA does not authorize the Commonwealth to file this action as a citizen or to intervene as a citizen. The court next declines to exercise its discretion to permit the Commonwealth to assert a state law claim against the City of Hopewell under pendent jurisdiction. Finally, the court denies the City of Hopewell's motion requesting the court to abstain from hearing the federal claim asserted by EPA in order for the matter to be litigated in state court under state law.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert W. Jasten, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1257, Fed. Cthse. Annex, 1102 E. Main St., Richmond VA 23210
(804) 771-2186

Counsel for Defendant
Gerald L. Baliles
Bell, Lacy & Baliles
11th Floor, Heritage Bldg., 10th & Main Sts., Richmond VA 23213
(804) 649-7021

John R. Butcher, Ass't Attorney General
Shockoe Center, 11 S. 12th St., Suite 314, Richmond VA 23219
(804) 786-1348