• Mark Ryan

Four New CWA Cases

The two new CAFO cases below underline the challenges plaintiffs face in trying to sue CAFOs. There are lots of evidentiary issues that face a citizen group that does not have inspection authority.

Suncoast Waterkeeper v. City of St. Petersburg, 2020 WL 1512486 (M.D. Fla. 2020) (awarding attorney fees of $998,861after settlement with city for discharges of raw or inadequately treated sewage; fees were reduced by 25% because case was straight forward and plaintiffs spent too much time litigating issues not in dispute; fee for motion for attorney fees cut by 50% because 118 hours billed for motion were unreasonable)

Garrison v. New Fashion Pork LLP, 2020 WL 1494063 (N.D. Iowa 2020) (on motion for summary judgment in case alleging RCRA and CWA violations associated with manure disposal from CAFO, held that plaintiffs failed to tie high nitrate levels in soil and drainage to defendant’s land application practices)

Food & Water Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2020 WL 1479462 (D.D.C. 2020) (on motion for summary judgment in case challenging NEPA analysis of federal loan guarantee for CAFO, held that the record shows that the CAFO does not discharge point and nonpoint pollution and CAFO was not designed to require an NPDES permit; environmental effects due to agricultural runoff were not reasonably foreseeable, both as to surface water and groundwater)

United States v. E.R.R. LLC, 2020 WL 1638416 (E.D. La. 2020) (on motion for summary judgment in OPA cost-recovery action for oil spill cleanup costs, held that material issue of fact existed as to reasonableness of cost of cleanup; held that government is not required to prove the non-existence of another possible oil spill in a cost-recovery action)

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