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Farricielli v. Holbrook

ELR Citation: 30 ELR 20683
Nos. No. 98-9139, 215 F.3d 241/(2d Cir., 06/12/2000)

The court vacates a district court decision denying Eleventh Amendment immunity to the commissioner of a state environmental agency who allegedly violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by taking no action to prevent or respond to environmental contamination on a company's land. The court first holds that while the Eleventh Amendment does not confer immunity on state officials acting in violation of federal law, the company must first identify the federal constitutional or statutory law that the commissioner threatens to violate. Although the company claims that the commissioner violated RCRA §7002's citizen suit provision and RCRA §4003(a)(2)'s prohibition against new open dumps, it is unclear whether the company's allegations, either alone or in combination, suffice to state a violation of federal law. On remand, therefore, the district court must determine whether this case falls within the Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity by determining whether the company has properly identified both a specific and ongoing violation of federal law by the commissioner.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Maureen O'Doherty
Department of Environmental Protection
2891 State St., Hamden CT 06517
(203) 287-9987

Counsel for Defendant
Mark P. Kindall, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
55 Elm St., Hartford CT 06141
(860) 808-5318

Before Feinberg, Jacobs, and Hall,* JJ.