In re Minnesota Metal Finishing, Inc.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) granted a hazardous waste plant operator's motion for leave to file a supplemental prehearing exchange and granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) motion to supplement the prehearing exchange, but denied EPA's motion in limine. In its complaint, EPA sought an aggregate civil penalty of $300,000 for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations and requested a compliance order. The operator filed an answer denying the violations and both parties each filed prehearing exchanges and motions, several of which have been ruled upon. The operator then submitted a motion for leave to file supplemental prehearing exchange and a supplement to its prehearing exchange with additional exhibits and three witnesses. Similarly, EPA sought to supplement its prehearing exchange by adding two proposed expert witnesses. The ALJ granted both motions because neither party responded to the other's motion. The ALJ, however, rejected EPA's motion in limine, in which it sought to exclude 20 of the operator's prehearing exchange exhibits, arguing the documents are too old and therefore irrelevant. The ALJ denied the motion because "the mere fact that documents are from inspections prior to those at issue, or concern time periods before the alleged violations, does not render them irrelevant." Rather, the documents could be relevant to the penalty assessment.