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Kerr-McGee Chem. Corp. v. Hartigan

Citation: 17 ELR 20745
No. No. 86-1320, 816 F.2d 1177/25 ERC 1892/(7th Cir., 04/09/1987)

The court holds that a federal district court does not have authority under the Anti-Injunction Act to enjoin Illinois from seeking injunctive relief in state court to require the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. to remove and dispose of radioactive wastes at Kerr-McGee's West Chicago facility. The court holds that Illinois was not a party to and is not bound by a prior federal court decision involving Kerr-McGee holding that federal law preempted a state-law injunction requiring Kerr-McGee to remove the wastes from the site. The court holds that an injunction of the state-court action is not necessary to protect or effectuate the prior decision since there is not an identity of interests between the plaintiffs in the earlier action, who were residents living nearby the West Chicago facility, and those of the state, whose interests are those of the state as a whole. The court further holds that the state's appearance in the earlier case as amicus curiae on appeal does not by itself justify its being bound by res judicata or collateral estoppel as a nonparty, on the theory that the state was virtually represented in the prior proceeding. The court next holds that a federal district court is not required by the Anti-Injunction Act to enjoin a state-court suit even if it found that doing so would protect or effectuate the prior decision. The court holds that the Act prohibits all federal court injunctions of state-court actions except in narrowly defined circumstances, in which case a district court retains its discretion to determine whether an injunction is warranted.

[Related cases appear at 12 ELR 20623, 13 ELR 20648, and 15 ELR 20686.]

Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellant
Peter J. Nichols
Covington & Burling
1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 662-6000

Counsel for Defendant-Appellee
Roma J. Stewart
100 W. Randolph St., Chicago IL 60601
(217) 782-1090

Before CUMMINGS and CUDAHY, Circuit Judges, and CAMPBELL, Senior District Judge.*