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Wilson v. Davis

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20139
Nos. No. 2007 CW 1929, (La. Ct. App., 05/28/2008)

A Louisiana appellate court held that state law allows the state's environmental agency to be held liable for personal injury and property damages when a permittee has contaminated its neighbors' property and the agency knew about the toxic contamination but failed to properly regulate the permittee. Louisiana's hazardous waste statute requires the agency to perform annual "meaningful inspections" of permitted hazardous waste facilities. Because the agency's compliance with the statute does not involve policymaking or discretionary duties, sovereign immunity does not protect the agency from inspection-related lawsuits. Here, however, the property owners failed to produce any facts to support their allegation that the agency failed to conduct annual or meaningful inspections. Thus, a factfinder could not properly conclude that the agency failed to meet the nondiscretionary duties it owed under the statute merely because the property at issue was contaminated as far back as 1979 and remediated more than 20 years later.