3M Co. (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) v. Browner
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
17 F.3d 1453, 305 U.S. App. D.C. 100 (1994)
Between August 1980 and July 1986, 3M Corporation (3M) inadvertently committed several violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requirement that 90 days before a new chemical is imported, the importer must provide the EPA with a premanufacture notice. 3M learned one of its imported chemicals, Chemical A, was not on the EPA’s inventory of existing chemicals and required a premanufacture notice that had not been submitted. On July 28, 1986, 3M reported the violation to the EPA’s compliance office. Subsequently, 3M discovered that another one of its imported chemicals, Chemical B, also required a premanufacture notice that was not submitted before it was imported several times between July 15, 1983, and August 4, 1986. On September 16, 1986, 3M notified the EPA of the violations concerning Chemical B. On September 2, 1988, the EPA filed an administrative complaint against 3M seeking civil penalties under TSCA for 3M’s failure to provide premanufacture notices and for 3M’s submissions of inaccurate customs certifications for Chemicals A and B. In its answer to the complaint, 3M argued 28 U.S.C. § 2462 imposed a statute of limitations and barred the EPA’s complaint because the statute required the EPA to give notice to 3M within five years from the date the claim first accrued, meaning before September 1983. An EPA administrative-law judge (ALJ) ruled that no statute of limitations applied to TSCA and 28 U.S.C. § 2462 only applied to judicial proceedings. The ALJ assessed a civil penalty against 3M. The EPA chief judicial officer affirmed the ALJ’s opinion and assessed a penalty. 3M petitioned for review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Randolph, J.)
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