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State v. Rollfink

ELR Citation: 22 ELR 20203
Nos. No. 89-1908, 469 N.W.2d 398/33 ERC 1507/162 Wis.2d 121, (Wis., 05/23/1991)

The court rules that a corporate officer is personally liable for violations of Wisconsin's solid and hazardous waste laws if the officer is responsible for the overall operation of the corporation's facility where the violations occurred. The court holds that the corporate officer was an operator within the meaning of the Wisconsin administrative code because he was responsible for the overall operation of a hazardous waste facility, and thus is personally liable. An officer need not personally authorize, participate in, or supervise violations of the state solid and hazardous waste laws to be responsible for the overall operation of a hazardous waste facility. That the officer delegated some responsibilities does not prove that he was not responsible for the overall operation of the facility; it instead indicates that he had such responsibility. The state submitted numerous evidentiary facts that proved that the officer was responsible for the facility's overall management. The court holds that the officer's company operated a hazardous waste facility within the meaning of the Wisconsin administrative code. That the facility served other purposes besides storing and disposing of wastes does not remove it from the definition of a hazardous waste facility. The definition of "hazardous waste facility" contemplates inclusion of facilities that serve purposes beyond treatment, storage, and disposal. The court also concludes that the facility was a recycling facility under the administrative code.

Counsel for Defendant-Appellant
Thomas R. Fahl
Flanagan, Sendik & Fahl
11707 W. North Ave., Milwaukee WI 53226
(414) 771-7000

Counsel for Plaintiff-Respondent
Donald J. Hanaway, Attorney General; Lisa Levin, Ass't Attorney General
114 E. State Capitol, P.O. Box 7857, Madison WI 53707
(608) 266-1221