Interfaith Cmty. Org, v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc,

From 1895 to 1954 the Jersey City chrome manufacturing plant deposited 1.5 million tons of industrial waste into wetlands along the Hackensack River. In 1954, Honeywell’s predecessor purchased the plant and ended the dumping. The contaminated area was not cleaned up. In 1995, ICO, represented by the Terris law firm, filed a citizen suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. 6901. The district court entered judgment for ICO in 2003, awarded more than $4.5 million in fees and expenses, and required Honeywell to pay future fees and costs for monitoring cleanup. The Third Circuit vacated the fee award. In 2005, Terris sued Honeywell based on the same contamination but relating to different areas, on behalf of Riverkeeper. The parties entered into consent decrees; Honeywell agreed to pay $5 million for fees and costs already incurred and to pay “reasonable” fees and expenses for monitoring. In 2009, the parties failed to agree on monitoring fees. The district court substantially upheld the fee requests, allowing Terris to be paid Washington, D.C. rates, rejecting challenges to the reasonableness of the hours expended, and holding that Rule 68 offers of judgment cannot be made in RCRA citizen suits. The Third Circuit vacated with respect to Rule 68 offers, upheld with respect to the hourly rates, and remanded with respect to the number of hours claimed. View "Interfaith Cmty. Org, v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc, " on Justia Law