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Commissioner v. RLG, Inc.

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20191
Nos. No. 27A02-9909-CV-646, 735 N.E.2d 290/(Ind. Ct. App., 09/20/2000)

The court holds that the sole officer and shareholder of a company is not personally liable for the company's environmental violations under the "responsible corporate officer" doctrine. Case law requires some evidence of knowledge, action, or inaction by a corporate officer before personal liability for public health law violations may be imposed. Here, the only evidence is that the individual was the sole officer and shareholder of the company and that he conducted himself as a corporate officer. That evidence, standing alone, is insufficient to impose personal liability under the responsible corporate officer doctrine. Even were the court to infer that, by virtue of his position, the individual was in a position to influence corporate policy, there is no evidence of the required nexus between his position and the violations or his actions or inactions with regard to those violations. Last, because the requisite evidence is not present in this case, the court leaves for another day the determination whether Indiana should adopt the responsible corporate officer doctrine.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Anita Wylie, Deputy Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
Indiana Government Ctr. S.
402 W. Washington St., 5th Fl., Indianapolis IN 46204
(317) 233-4386

Counsel for Defendant
Albert C. Harker
Kiley, Kiley, Harker, Michael & Certain
300 W. Third St., Marion IN 46952
(765) 664-9041

With Mathias and Najam, JJ., concurring