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Esso Standard Oil Co. v. Lopez-Freytes

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20086
Nos. No. 07-1218, (1st Cir., 04/10/2008)

The First Circuit affirmed a lower court order permanently enjoining several members and officials of the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board from imposing a $76 million fine on an oil company in connection with leaking underground storage tanks. The lower court was not required to abstain from exercising jurisdiction under the Younger abstention doctrine. The company clearly demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of federal intervention. Accordingly, the need for federal intervention in this case falls clearly within the abstention exception carved out by Gibson v. Berryhill, 411 U.S. 564 (1973). Moreover, undisputed evidence of actual bias in the proceedings necessitated the imposition of the injunction.