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Aluminum Co. of Am. v. EPA

Citation: 12 ELR 20699
No. No. 80-1599, 663 F.2d 499/17 ERC 1340/(4th Cir., 10/29/1981) Remanded

The court remands to the district court an order, 11 ELR 20554, denying appellant's motion to quash an administrative search warrant obtained by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to search plaintiff's plant in Badin, North Carolina. EPA had obtained an ex parte administrative search warrant from the United States magistrate authorizing EPA's consultants to conduct an inspection. Although the inspection took place, appellant sought to quash the warrant. The magistrate's denial of the motion was upheld by the district court. The court rules that the district court erred by applying the clearly erroneous standard of review. Under 28 U.S.C. §§636(b)(1)(B) and 636(b)(3), the district court must make a de novo determination because under an exception to §636(b)(1)(A), the district court, not a magistrate, must consider motions which are dispositive of the case.

Counsel for Appellant
R. L. Holz, Judith A. Lytle
Aluminum Co. of America
1501 ALCOA Bldg., Pittsburgh PA 15219
(412) 553-4545

George V. Hanna III
Moore & Van Allen
3000 NCNB Plaza, Charlotte NC 28280
(704) 374-1300

Charles T. Newton Jr., Norman D. Radford Jr., Charles W. Schwartz
Vinson & Elkins
First City Tower, Houston TX 77002
(713) 651-2222

Counsel for Appellee
Judson W. Starr
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2810

Christopher Herman
Office of the General Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC 20460
(202) 382-4134

Benjamin H. White Jr., Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1858, Greensboro NC 27402
(919) 378-5123

Williams,* J. (joined by Murnaghan and Sprouse, JJ.)