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Paolino v. JF Realty

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20064
Nos. 12-2031, (1st Cir., 03/13/2013)

The First Circuit held that a lower court erred in dismissing a landowner's CWA citizen suit for lack of proper pre-suit notice. The landowner filed suit against the neighboring property owner—an automobile salvage and recycling business—for discharging pollutants into U.S. waters without a valid state permit. The lower court dismissed the suit because the pre-suit notice was not sufficiently specific. But where, as here, the information contained in pre-suit notice identifies the potential plaintiffs, provides basic contact information, and allows the putative defendants to identify and remedy the alleged violations, the CWA's pre-suit notice requirements have been satisfied and the enforcement action may proceed. This does not mean that the defendants are precluded from asserting defenses under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); only that the suit is not barred in the district court. But the lower court properly dismissed the landowner's claims against one of the individual defendants because the pre-suit notice was improperly served.