Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Illinois v. Department of the Army

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20851
Nos. No. 00-C-8121, (N.D. Ill., 07/20/2001)

The court grants Illinois' request to remand to state court its case against the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) for improperly releasing pollutants from its Joliet Army Ammunition Plant into waste streams and outfalls that ultimately ended up in Prairie Creek, a tributary of the Kankakee River. The state initially filed its complaint in state court, but the Army removed the case to federal court on grounds that the state court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The court first holds that the Army clearly is a federal agency acting under color of federal law. Nevertheless, the court next holds that the Army lacks a colorable federal defense. The complaint seeks damages under state water law to coerce future compliance, and the United States has specifically waived its sovereign immunity for this type of action. Thus, the Army failed to establish federal jurisdiction.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (10 pp., ELR Order No. L-383).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Rebecca Burlingham
Attorney General's Office
100 W. Randolph St., Chicago IL 60601
(312) 814-2503

Counsel for Defendant
Linda Wawzenski
U.S. Attorney's Office
Everett M. Dirksen Bldg.
219 S. Dearborn St., 5th Fl., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 353-5300