Friday, November 1, 2013

Scott v. City of Hammond, Indiana case brief

Scott v. City of Hammond, Indiana case brief summary
741 F.2d 992 (7th Cir. 1984)

Plaintiff citizen appealed from an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, which dismissed that part of his suit against defendant United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging that the EPA failed to prescribe a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for discharge of pollutants into Lake Michigan pursuant to the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 1313(c)(2).

Plaintiff, a private citizen, brought suit against the EPA, a city and a sanitary district complaining about the pollution of Lake Michigan.

  • The district court dismissed the complaint against the EPA, and on appeal, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part. 
  • The court held that the claim challenging the EPA's approval of an inadequate standard for bacteria and by the EPA's failure to require the adoption of a standard for viruses could not be challenged through a citizen's suit as the content of the standards was discretionary with the EPA. 
  • The court held that the second part of the complaint alleging that the EPA unlawfully failed to promulgate TMDL's for discharges of pollutants into Lake Michigan was the kind for which the citizen's suit was designed. 
  • The allegation that no TMDL's were in place, coupled with the EPA's admission that the states had not made their submissions, raised the possibility that the states determined that TMDL's for Lake Michigan were unnecessary. 
  • The complaint raised the possibility that the EPA failed to perform the nondiscretionary act of approving or disapproving state submissions.


The judgment dismissing the citizen's complaint against the EPA was reversed and the cause was remanded.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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