Thursday, February 17, 2011

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Judgment Against DEP Employees

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania this week overturned a federal jury’s verdict that held four employees of the Department of Environmental Protection liable for $6.5 million in damages for alleged regulatory misconduct.
The case, MFS, INC. v THOMAS A. DILAZARO, et al., was decided by a jury on February 17, 2010. DEP appealed the decision.
The four employees, which were sued as individuals, were Michael Bedin, Director of the Northeast Regional Office; Thomas DiLazaro, former Air Quality Program Manager; Mark Wejksner, current Air Quality Program Manager; and Sean Robbins, an attorney with the agency.
The jury found the four employees acted outside their official capacities in issuing notices of violations and enforcement actions involving odor complaints at the facility and in considering a Title V air quality permit for the facility in such a way as to violate the First Amendment rights of MFS, Inc., violate its right to due process and treated their case uniquely, violating the equal protection clause of the federal constitution.
MFS, Inc. filed the lawsuit in 2008 after it said it was forced to shutdown.
A copy of the decision is available online.

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