Originally filed in November, 1999, the environmental clean-up litigation has gone back up to the Eighth Circuit and back down to the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (Rosenbaum, J.), repeatedly.
Ten years of litigation seems excessive perhaps until it is measured against years of polluting and contamination that may remain for generations or require years of clean-up. The litigation has been lengthy because remediation has been ongoing.
On appeal this time around, the district court had modified the injunction to impose no further requirements on the defendant, had declined to increase the amount of the bond, and had denied Plaintiff’s motion for response costs (in short the district court had finally delivered a full “victory” for the defendant). Plaintiff Kennedy Associates appealed. The Eight Circuit held, “We affirm the district court as to the MERA injunction and bond issues. We remand for further proceedings on response costs.”
As to the final point, the District Court’s decision of the issue was brief and opaque: it denied Plaintiff’s motion for award for response costs of $59,448.61, “stating simply that ‘Plaintiff’s motion [Docket No. 375] is denied.'” The analysis proved a bit too brief and opaque for the Eighth Circuit, which remanded the case, basically ensuring that the case will indeed celebrate its tenth birthday before being fully and finally resolved.