• The First Circuit Circumscribes the Clean Water Act’s Citizen Enforcement Provisions
  • August 22, 2016 | Author: Richard E. Stultz
  • Law Firm: Morris Polich & Purdy LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • In a July 18, 2016, opinion, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island’s decision for defendants in a citizen enforcement action brought under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Paolino v JF Realty LLC 2016 WL 3878158 (1st Cir. 2016). The First Circuit characterized plaintiffs’ action “as only the latest in an inventive series of unjustifiable efforts to indict their neighbor’s environmental practices.” The circuit court also upheld the district court’s award of attorney fees to defendants. Although the CWA allows private citizen enforcement, it was not intended to be abused in what are primarily meritless private disputes.