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United States v. Iverson
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
162 F.3d 1015 (1998)
Iverson (defendant) was charged with five counts of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The evidence at trial established that Iverson was president and chairman of CH2O, a company that shipped chemicals to customers in drums. The drums were returned and cleaned in a process that produced wastewater. CH2O disposed of the wastewater through its warehouse sewer. Iverson officially retired from CH2O shortly before the drum-cleaning operation began at the warehouse. He continued to receive money from CH2O, conduct business there, give orders to employees, and be listed as president in official documents. Iverson was sometimes present when drums were being cleaned. At times he informed employees he had a permit for the wastewater disposal, and at other times he told them the company would only be slapped on the wrist if caught. The district court instructed the jury that it could find Iverson liable under the CWA as a responsible corporate officer if it found Iverson knew pollutants were being discharged into the sewer system by CH2O employees, had the authority and capacity to prevent the discharge, and failed to prevent the discharge. Iverson was convicted and argued on appeal that the jury instruction was erroneous because a corporate officer is only responsible if he exercises control over the activity causing the discharge or has an express corporate duty to oversee the activity.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Graber, J.)
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