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United States v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp.

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20310
Nos. No. 81-299-D, 18 ERC 1177/(D.N.H., 11/15/1982)

The court rules that it lacks jurisdiction to impose hazardous waste cleanup injunctions on Johns-Manville while the company is protected by the automatic stay provision of the federal bankruptcy law. The court finds that the relief requested by the United States and New Hampshire would require Johns-Maville to spend substantial sums. The court construes the Bankruptcy Reform Act to allow the government to seek an injunction stopping actions that violate health and safety regulations while a stay is in effect, but not to enforce a money judgment against a bankrupt. It holds that an injunction that orders the payment of money is the same as a money judgment. Noting that plaintiffs have recourse to alternative remedies that could control the health hazard, the court holds the injunctions requested to be primarily pecuniary and thus subject to the automatic bankruptcy stay.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Steven M. Gordon, Ass't U.S. Attorney
Feb. Bldg., Concord NH 03301
(603) 834-4735

Philip Boxell
Office of Regional Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, JFK Fed. Bldg., Boston MA 02203
(617) 223-2311

Erica L. Dolgin
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5258

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor
E. Tupper Kinder
Dep't of the Attorney General
208 State House Annex, Concord NH 03301
(603) 271-3678

Counsel for Defendants
George R. Freund Jr.
Faulkner, Plaut, Hanna, Zimmerman & Freund
P.O. Box 527, Keene NH 03431
(603) 352-3630

Edward W. Warren Jr., L. Mark Wine, David K. Perdue, Michael Baumann
Kirkland & Ellis
1776 K St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 857-5000

S. Wyatt McCallie
Johns-Manville Sales Corp., P.O. Box 5108, Denver CO 80217
(303) 978-4953