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United States v. Reserve Mining Co.

ELR Citation: 6 ELR 20481
Nos. No. 5-72-Civ.-19, 412 F. Supp. 705/8 ERC 1978/(D. Minn., 05/04/1976) Penalties assessed

In a continuation of this protracted litigation involving the Reserve Mining Company's discharge of taconite tailings into Lake Superior, the court assesses penalties, litigation expenses, and costs of interim municipal drinking water purification against defendants. Previous judicial decisions in the case have established that Reserve's dumping violated the terms of its state discharge permit every day from May 20, 1973, to April 20, 1974, i.e., from enactment of the state statute prohibiting the discharge until continued discharges were specifically permitted by the Eighth Circuit pending appeal of the district court's injunction. Upon consideration of all the circumstances, the court imposes a penalty of $2,500 per day for these violations, making a total fine of $837,500. An award of attorneys' fees and other litigation expenses against the defendants for that portion of the litigation dealing with alternative methods of disposal is justified in this case in view of Reserve's bad faith in failing to divulge matters relating to this issue during discovery. The court estimates $200,000 as a fair amount for this award. Reserve is also held liable for $22,920 in expenses incurred by the city of Duluth in providing its citizens with asbestos-free drinking water. For earlier rulings in this litigation, see 6 ELR 20432, 5 ELR 20596, 4 ELR 20598, 4 ELR 20573, and 2 ELR 20578.

Counsel for Plaintiff United States
John Varnum
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2935

Counsel for Plaintiff State of Minnesota
Byron E. Starns
Philip Olfelt
Paul Faraci
James Schoessler
102 State Capitol
St. Paul MN 55155
(612) 296-6196

Counsel for Plaintiff City of Duluth
William P. Dinan, City Attorney
Robert Asleson
Daniel Berglund
City Hall
4th Ave. W & 1st St.
Duluth MN 55802
(218) 723-3368

Counsel for Defendant Reserve Mining Co.
Edward T. Fride
Hanft, Fride, O'Brien & Harries
1200 Alworth Building
Duluth MN 55802
(218) 722-4766

Maclay Hyde
Lindquist & Vennum
4200 I.D.S. Tower
80 South 8th St.
Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 335-6651

Counsel for Defendant Republic Steel Co.
William T. Egan
Rider, Bennet, Egan, Johnson & Arundel
1910 First National Bank Building
Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 340-7951

Counsel for Defendant Armco Steel Co.
John Gordon
G. Alan Cunningham
Faegre & Benson
1300 Northwestern Bank Bldg.
Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 338-7571