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United States v. Hansen

262 F.3d 1217 (2001)

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United States v. Hansen

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

262 F.3d 1217 (2001)

Facts

During relevant times in 1993, Christian Hansen (Christian) and Alfred Taylor (defendants) each served as plant manager of the Brunswick plant of LCP Chemicals-Georgia (LCP). LCP was operated by the Hanlin Group (Hanlin), of which Randall Hansen (Randall) (defendant) was the chief executive officer for seven months in 1993. Christian, Randall’s father, was the chief executive officer of Hanlin before Randall. The Brunswick plant manufactured caustic soda, hydrogen gas, hydrochloric acid, and chlor-alkali bleach in two football-field-sized cellrooms. The production process generated hazardous wastewater containing mercury, caustic chemicals, and chlorine. The plant was authorized to store wastewater awaiting treatment in holding tanks on the floor of the cellrooms, but sometimes, as witnessed by Christian and Taylor and reported to Randall, the wastewater leaked out onto the ground, out the backdoor of the cellrooms, and into a lake. In addition, bleach sometimes accumulated on one cellroom floor due to accidental spills. Maintenance at the plant continuously deteriorated. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) monitored employees’ mercury levels and at one point found that the accumulated wastewater on floors presented a safety hazard. OSHA ordered certain protective measures. In mid-1993, Christian directed plant employees to engage in temporary suppression measures to prevent wastewater from running out of cellrooms rather than repair the plant’s deteriorated condition. The measures were reported to Randall. Employees repeatedly complained to Christian, Randall, and Taylor about the wastewater and deteriorated plant conditions. The government (plaintiff) charged Christian, Randall, and Taylor with numerous environmental crimes, including violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, relating to the improper storage of wastewater, leakages, and endangerment of employees. The jury returned guilty verdicts for all three men, and appeals followed on grounds of insufficient evidence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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