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United States v. Stringfellow

Citation: 14 ELR 20381
No. No. CV-83-2501-MML, 20 ERC 1659/(C.D. Cal., 02/17/1984) Intervention permitted

The court rules that citizens living near a hazardous waste disposal site may not intervene as of right in a government clean-up action, but allows permissive intervention with restrictions. Initially, the court rules that none of the statutory provisions cited by applicants, § 1431 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, § 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and §§ 311 and 504 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, confer an unconditional right of intervention. The citizen suit provisions of the statutes allow intervention only in actions to enforce regulatory requirements, not in imminent hazard actions. Next, the court holds that FED. R. CIV. P. 24(a)(2) does not confer a right of intervention on applicants. Although they do have the requisite interest in the outcome of the litigation, their chances of being disadvantaged by the outcome are limited by the presence in the suit of parties with similar interests. In addition, applicants have failed to overcome the strong presumption that the sympathetic parties, state and federal agencies, will adequately represent their interests. The court does rule that applicants may be allowed to intervene under FED. R. CIV. P. 24(b) because their claim overlaps that of plaintiffs. But the court conditions permissive intervention, holding that applicants may not raise claims not raise by the original parties, intervene in the cost recovery claims, nor initiate discovery unless they confer with all parties and obtain the concurrence of at least one original plaintiff.

[Related cases are published at 14 ELR 20385 and 20388 — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Michael R. W. Green
Land and Natural Resources Division
Deparment of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2653

James R. Arnold, Ass't U.S. Attorney
1100 U.S. Cthse., 812 N. Spring St., Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2434

John K. Van De Kamp, Attorney General; Theodora Berger, Thomas E. Warriner, Donald A. Robinson
Dep't of Justice, 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800, Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 736-2304

Counsel for Defendants
James W. Ward, Sharon Waters
Thompson & Colegate
3737 Main St., Suite 600, Riverside CA 93501
(714) 682-5550

Lawrence A. Salibra II
Alcan Aluminum Corp., 100 Erieview Plaza, Cleveland OH 44040
(216) 523-6800

James Vernon, Richard Doty
McCutchen, Black, Verleger & Shea
600 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90017
(213) 624-2400

Martin J. Foley
Bryan, Cave, McPheeters & McRoberts
333 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles CA 90071
(213) 628-8000

Robert L. Ackerly
Sachs, Greenbaum & Taylor
1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 828-8200

Vincent Fish
Chase, Rotchford, Drukker & Bogust
700 S. Flower St., Suite 500, Los Angeles CA 90017
(213) 626-8711