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United States v. Brittain

931 F.2d 1413 (1991)

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United States v. Brittain

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

931 F.2d 1413 (1991)

Facts

Raymond Brittain (defendant) was the public-utilities director for the city of Enid, Oklahoma. He had general authority over the Enid wastewater-treatment plant and was responsible for the plant’s discharge-monitoring reports. Brittain directed his subordinate, the plant supervisor, to falsify 18 monthly discharge-monitoring reports by providing completely made up records of pollutant levels. In addition, the plant supervisor had informed Brittain that the recently renewed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was repeatedly violated with the discharge of raw sewage from a nonpermitted discharge point. Brittain observed the discharges himself on two occasions. Brittain instructed the supervisor not to report the discharges to the Environmental Protection Agency despite the fact that it was required by the NPDES permit. Section 1319(c) of the Clean Water Act provided criminal sanctions for “any person” who “willfully or negligently” violated § 1311(a) of the act or any NPDES permit. Section 1319(c)(3) added “responsible corporate officers” to the general definition of “persons” under the act. Brittain was charged with 18 felony counts of falsely reporting a material fact to a government agency and two misdemeanor counts of discharging pollutants into the waters of the United States (plaintiff) in violation of the Clean Water Act. Brittain argued he was not a “person” under the act and that the permittee (the city of Enid) was the only “person” exposed to liability for the permit violations. Brittain was convicted on all counts and appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baldock, J.)

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