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BEC Corp. v. Department of Envtl. Protection

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20851
Nos. No. SC 16174, 775 A.2d 928/(Conn., 07/10/2001)

The court holds that two officers of a corporation are personally liable under the Connecticut Water Pollution Control Act for water contamination caused by leaks from oil tanks on the corporation's property. The court first holds that under Connecticut Water Pollution Control Act §§22a-432, which sets forth who may be liable under the Act, the mere fact that a person who is polluting is a corporate officer does not automatically shield that officer from liability for his own actions or omissions. The court further holds that under the Act, a corporate officer may be liable for pollution resulting from omissions as well as from affirmative acts. If the corporate officer's actions or inactions create conditions that reasonably can be expected to create a source of water pollution, then that officer may be held personally liable under §§22a-432. The court then holds that the officers were personally liable for the water pollution resulting from oil spills from their facility. The record shows that the officers had day-to-day decisionmaking authority over the fuel oil facility, were responsible for its on-site management, and their decisions caused water pollution at the site. Both of the officers were directly responsible for directing the actions of the corporation with respect to the environment and environmental compliance, and they had the power and the responsibility to initiate preventative and remedial efforts.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (18 pp., ELR Order No. L-379).

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William F. Gallagher
Gallagher & Calistro
1377 Boulevard, New Haven CT 06509
(203) 624-4165

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