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Case: North Carolina Environmental Justice Network v. Taylor

4:12-cv-00154 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Filed Date: July 27, 2012

Closed Date: Aug. 29, 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 27, 2012, the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, and the Waterkeeper Alliance filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs alleged that the Taylor Finishing Company, a swine concentrated animal feeding operation, illegally polluted under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and that this pollution endangered human health and the en…

On July 27, 2012, the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, and the Waterkeeper Alliance filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs alleged that the Taylor Finishing Company, a swine concentrated animal feeding operation, illegally polluted under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and that this pollution endangered human health and the environment. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge James C. Dever III and Magistrate Judge James E. Gates.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had violated the CWA and RCRA by causing the release of pollutants, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria, onto the lands and into waters surrounding defendants’ facilities near the Neuse River Basin. The complaint described that defendants caused illegal discharges of pollutants without a permit, illegal open dumping of swine waste, and illegal treatment, storage, and disposal of swine waste. The plaintiffs argued that this disregard for disposal requirements created an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment.

Between September and November of 2013, the three defendants filed motions to dismiss the complaint claiming that this court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff failed to serve a proper notice of intent to sue prior to filing the complaint. But before the motions were decided, on April 25, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. The defendants filed responsive motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. On August 26, 2013, Judge Dever denied the motion and the parties proceeded to discovery.

On October 21, 2014, the NCEJN filed a stipulation of dismissal, asking that the court dismiss their claims with prejudice and that each party bear their own costs. The court granted this motion later that month.

On November 21, 2014, the remaining defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claim due to insufficient evidence and the undisputed fact that none of the plaintiffs had suffered an injury that could be causally connected to the defendants’ conduct. On that same day, one of the defendants moved for summary judgment of count three of the second amended complaint, claiming that the plaintiffs could not establish that there was an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment caused by the defendant. Additionally, another defendant filed a similar motion for summary judgment, even asking that the court enter judgment in their favor on the grounds that there were no genuine issues of material fact and they were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law.

On January 14, 2015, Judge Gates entered a report and recommendation with the court, recommending that the court deny without prejudice the three pending motions for summary judgment. 2015 WL 1630602. On April 13, 2015, Judge Dever agreed with Judge Gates and denied the motions without prejudice. 2015 WL 1880200.

Then, defendants filed a notice of bankruptcy with the court and on June 3, 2015, the court entered an order staying the action pending resolution of the bankruptcy case. After the stay, negotiations took place and on June 29, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a notice of a proposed consent decree. The agreement required that the contaminated lagoon be inspected annually, that the defendants remove sludge from the lagoon, and that records are kept regarding the activities. The consent decree further stipulated that the parties would make a joint public statement, that the plaintiffs could not do sample testing on the defendant’s surrounding property, and that the defendants must operate their facility in accordance with the terms of the facility’s permit. The parties agreed to seek enforcement of the terms in bankruptcy court so the court would not retain jurisdiction over the matter.

On August 13, 2018, the court approved the consent decree. The parties subsequently filed a stipulation to a voluntary dismissal of the case. The case was closed on August 29, 2018.

Summary Authors

Jake Parker (7/20/2018)

Mary Kate Sickel (10/5/2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5617933/parties/north-carolina-environmental-justice-network-v-taylor/


Judge(s)

Dever, James C. III (North Carolina)

Gates, James E. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barnashuk, Kimberly R. (New York)

Caffery, Lee Knight (North Carolina)

Dike-Minor, Chinelo E. (New York)

Foster, Kelly H. (Oklahoma)

Green, Stanley B. (North Carolina)

Jernigan, Robert Gray (North Carolina)

Leigh, Michael T. (New York)

Noll, Bethany Davis (New York)

Judge(s)

Dever, James C. III (North Carolina)

Gates, James E. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barnashuk, Kimberly R. (New York)

Caffery, Lee Knight (North Carolina)

Dike-Minor, Chinelo E. (New York)

Foster, Kelly H. (Oklahoma)

Green, Stanley B. (North Carolina)

Jernigan, Robert Gray (North Carolina)

Leigh, Michael T. (New York)

Noll, Bethany Davis (New York)

Skrzypczyk, Johanna N. (New York)

Turner, Frederick H. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Eglinton, Donalt J. (North Carolina)

Haidt, David J. (North Carolina)

King, John William Jr. (North Carolina)

Sheffield, Frank H. Jr. (North Carolina)

Simonsen, Lars P. (North Carolina)

Wang, Amy P. (North Carolina)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:12-cv-00154

Docket [PACER]

Aug. 29, 2018

Aug. 29, 2018

Docket
1

4:12-cv-00154

Complaint and Jury Demand

July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012

Complaint
65

4:12-cv-00154

Second Amended Complaint and Jury Demand

April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

Complaint
148

4:12-cv-00154

Order and Memorandum and Recommendation

Jan. 14, 2015

Jan. 14, 2015

Order/Opinion
159

4:12-cv-00154

Order

April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

Order/Opinion
166

4:12-cv-00154

Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree

June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
167

4:12-cv-00154

Re: N.C. Environmental Justice Network et al. v. Taylor

July 25, 2018

July 25, 2018

Correspondence
168

4:12-cv-00154

Consent Decree

Aug. 13, 2018

Aug. 13, 2018

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5617933/north-carolina-environmental-justice-network-v-taylor/

Last updated Aug. 29, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
64

ORDER granting 51 Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint and denying as moot 30 , 36 , and 48 Motions to Dismiss. Counsel should file the second amended complaint attached to its motion no later than 4/30/2013. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 4/24/2013. (Sawyer, D.)

April 24, 2013

April 24, 2013

RECAP
74

ORDER denying 71 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 8/26/2013. (Sawyer, D.)

Aug. 26, 2013

Aug. 26, 2013

RECAP
147

ORDER denying 104 Motion to Strike: In sum, the court DENIES defendants' motion to strike plaintiffs' jury demand on the issue of liability for civil penalties. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 12/29/14. Counsel is reminded to read the order in its entirety for critical deadlines and information. (O'Brien, C.)

Dec. 29, 2014

Dec. 29, 2014

RECAP
148

ORDER AND MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION regarding: 93 Plaintiff's Motion to Compel; 139 Defendant's Motion to Strike; 143 Plaintiff's Motion for Relief Pursuant to Rule 56(d); 125 Join Motion for Summary Judgment; 128 Motion for Summary Judgment and 131 Motion for Summary Judgment. In sum, IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to compel 93 is ALLOWED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART and that defendant's motion to strike 139 is DENIED AS MOOT. IT IS RECOMMENDE D that plaintiff's motion for relief pursuant to Rule 56(d) 143 be denied but that the pending motions for summary judgment be DENIED without prejudice. Objections to M&R due by 1/27/2015. Signed by US Magistrate Judge James E. Gates on 1/14/15. Counsel is reminded to read the order in its entirety for critical deadlines and information. (O'Brien, C.)

Jan. 14, 2015

Jan. 14, 2015

RECAP
159

ORDER: The court adopts the Memorandum and Recommendation and Order 148 and overrules the objections. Defendants' joint motion for reconsideration and clarification 150 and the Taylor defendants' supplemental motion for reconsideration 153 are DENIED. Defendants' motion to strike 143 , defendants' motion to expedite 153 , and plaintiffs' motion to reconsider 119 are DISMISSED as moot. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 4/13/2015. Counsel is reminded to read the order in its entirety for critical information. (O'Brien, C.)

April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

RECAP
164

ORDER STAYING CASE: Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362, the action in this court is STAYED pending resolution of the bankruptcy case. Parties shall notify the court within 14 days of settlement or resolution of the bankruptcy case. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever, III on 6/3/2015. (Lee, L.)

June 3, 2015

June 3, 2015

RECAP
166

Notice-other

June 29, 2018

June 29, 2018

PACER
167

Notice-other

July 25, 2018

July 25, 2018

PACER
168

Consent Decree

Aug. 13, 2018

Aug. 13, 2018

PACER
169

Stipulation of Dismissal

Aug. 14, 2018

Aug. 14, 2018

PACER
170

Status Report

Aug. 29, 2018

Aug. 29, 2018

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: North Carolina

Case Type(s):

Environmental Justice

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 27, 2012

Closing Date: Aug. 29, 2018

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, Inc., and the Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Taylor Finishing Company, Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. § 1319 et seq.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. § 6928 et seq.

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Recordkeeping

Monitoring

Issues

General:

Groundwater

Pattern or Practice

Sanitation / living conditions