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Tuchman v. Connecticut

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20465
Nos. No. 3-01-CV-1513 (JCH), 185 F. Supp. 2d 169/(D. Conn., 02/08/2002)

The court dismisses all of a hazardous waste transshipment company's equal protection, due process, and takings claims against the state of Connecticut, the Connecticut environmental agency, and the individual agency head for denial of a hazardous waste transshipment permit. The Eleventh Amendment bars suit against states in federal court unless a state has consented or Congress has abrogated that immunity. The court first holds that the company failed to provide any substantive grounds permitted by the Eleventh Amendment to proceed on any claims against the state or the state agency. Moreover, any claims against the agency head in his official capacity must arise from a continuing violation of federal law, but the company failed to state valid equal protection, due process, or takings claims. The company claimed that no company ever received a hazardous transshipment permit in the state and that their company operated for years after enactment of the transshipment regulations. The court next holds, however, that to allege an equal protection claim, the company must allege differential treatment. If no similarly situated individuals exists, as is the case here, no claim for equal protection exists. Moreover, the company failed to allege any rational basis, animus, or other impermissible criteria as the basis for the alleged differential treatment. The court further holds that a state permit for the transshipment of hazardous waste is not a federally protected property interest on which the company could base a federal due process claim. Similarly, because the company failed to allege a protected property interest, its takings claim fails. The court finally holds that the agency head can assert the defense of qualified immunity to the company's claims against him in his individual capacity.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
John-Henry M. Steele
Votre & Associates
105 Court St., Ste. 405, New Haven CT 06511
(203) 498-0065

Counsel for Defendants
Joseph Rubin, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
55 Elm St., Hartford CT 06141
(860) 808-5318

Hall, J.