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Illinois v. Milwaukee, City of

Citation: 8 ELR 20503
No. No. 72 C 1253, (N.D. Ill., 03/06/1978) Injunction issued

The court grants injunctive relief under the federal common law of nuisance against the City of Milwaukee because of the risk of interstate injury and lake eutrophication caused by the city's sewage discharges into Lake Michigan. Milwaukee's sewage treatment facilities are inadequate, and often raw sewage is dumped directly into the lack. The court rules that the States of Illinois and Michigan have made a clear and convincing showing that these discharges subject their citizens to a substantial risk of injury and threaten the lake with eutrophication. Such a risk of harm is a sufficient injury to justify the issuance of injunctive relief. The court rejects defendants' argument that there is no satisfactory proof of a causal relationship between their conduct and the pollution of the lake, ruling that any discharger who contributes significantly to the condition which gives rise to the nuisance may be enjoined from continuing that discharge. The court also rejects the defense that the existence of other point-source dischargers in Illinois and Michigan excuses defendants' conduct. The other point sources contribute much less pollution in magnitude and are phasing out or improving the treatment of their discharges.

This opinion is a restatement of an oral decision rendered at the end of trial. The oral ruling deals extensively with factual issues and is available in transcript form from ELR (50 pp. $6.25, ELR Order No. C-1156). For a digest summary of the documents filed with this court, see ELR PEND. LIT. 65211. For a digest summary of the birefs filed in the appeal of this decision currently pending before the Seventh Circuit, see ELR PEND. LIT. 65565.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Joseph V. Karaganis, Special Ass't Attorney General
150 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2500, Chicago IL 60606
(312) 782-1905

Counsel for Defendants
Michael J. McCabe, Ass't City Attorney
City Hall, 200 E. Wells, Milwaukee WI 53202
(414) 278-2601

Samuel J. Recht
Quarles & Brady
780 N. Water St., Milwaukee WI 53202
(414) 273-3700

Ewald L. Moerke, Jr.
Schroeder, Gedlen, Riester & Moerke
212 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee WI 53203
(414) 272-4060

Counsel for Intervening Plaintiff State of Michigan
Thomas J. Emery, Ass't Attorney General
720 Law Bldg., Lansing MI 48913
(517) 373-7780