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United States v. Sensient Colors, Inc.

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20033
Nos. No. 07-1275, (D.N.J., 01/28/2009)

A district court granted a motion to bar a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator's deposition in a cost recovery action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act in connection with the General Color site in New Jersey. Under United States v. Morgan, 313 U.S. 409 (1941), depositions of current high ranking government officials concerning their official duties should not be taken absent extraordinary circumstances. This rule should be extended to former employees. It is not far fetched to conclude that a government employee's work performance may be "chilled" if she may be deposed on her thought process after she leaves government service. Further, there are no extraordinary circumstances that warrant the deposition of the former administrator involved—Christine Todd Whitman—and she has no unique personal knowledge of any relevant issue in the case.