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In re D.A. Stuart Co.

Case Number: 
No. RCRA-05-2006-0022
ELR Citation:37 ELR 47886

An administrative law judge (ALJ) granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) motion for leave to amend its complaint against a manufacturer for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and state law violations. EPA originally brought four counts against the manufacturer and proposed a penalty assessment of $582,644. In its amended complaint, EPA sought to drop counts 2 through 4 and replace them with a new count 2--operating a treatment, storage, and disposal facility without a permit--based on the same factual allegations in the original counts 2 through 4. EPA also proposed a reduced civil penalty of $336,350 to reflect certain facts and circumstances now known to the Agency. The manufacturer argued that EPA's action of filing an amended complaint "constitutes a bad faith attempt to preserve the penalty demand proposed for Counts 2 and 3 of the original complaint." It also objected to EPA's compliance order because it provides no fair notice as to what actions are being demanded. The ALJ granted EPA's motion because the manufacturer's claims of bad faith were not supported by any factual evidence and because EPA showed good cause as to why its motion should be granted. The ALJ also left the compliance order intact, notwithstanding the manufacturer's fair notice argument, because it is the same compliance order filed with the original complaint and, therefore, there is no amendment to contest.