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Pawtucket, City of v. United States

ELR Citation: 6 ELR 20786
Nos. No. 304-75, 10 ERC 2070/211 Ct. Cl. 324, (Ct. Cl., 09/30/1976)

The court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismisses the city's suit for reimbursement of the costs to clean up oil spilled from city-owned tanks. Even though the security facilities were in a state of disrepair when the city acquired the land on which the tanks are located and the city failed to take any action to remedy the situation, the city argued that vandalism was the sole cause of the spill and sought reimbursement pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C. §1321(i)(1), ELR 41119. The court holds that the city failed to prove that the discharge was caused "solely" by the acts or omissions of a third party because the city's omissions gave the third party easy access to the tank area and created a situation conducive to vandalism.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Moses Kando, City Solicitor
City Hall Law Department
137 Roosevelt Ave.
Pawtucket RI 02860
(401) 728-0500

Counsel for Defendant
Peter R. Taft, Asst. Attorney General
Raymond W. Mushal
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2773