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Department of Environmental Management Legal Division landmark legal case files

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2012-32-2014-34-2014-31

Scope and Contents

The Department of Environmental Management Legal Division landmark legal case files includes the records of four landmark legal cases. The cases contained are O'Neil v. Picillo; Landfill & Resource Recovery, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Management, State of Rhode Island, et al.; State of Rhode Island, et al v. Narragansett Tribe of Indians, C.A. No. 92-0425-P, Narragansett Indian Aquaculture Proposal, Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island and Narragansett Indian Wetuomuck Housing Authority v. The Narragansett Electric Company, The State of Rhode Island, The Town of Charlestown, C.A. No. 93-667T; Richard Allegria v. State of Rhode Island, U.S. District Court of RI, C.A. No. 97-147ML, Supreme Court, C.A. No. 95-0045 1997-1998; and Medeiros v. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Comm., 327 F.Supp. 145 (D.R.I. 2004), affd. sub nom. Medeiros v. Vincent, 431 F.3d 25 (1st Cir.2005), cert. denied 126 S.Ct. 2968 (2006).


The records include filings, orders, motions, correspondence, exhibits, and related legal records.

Dates

  • 1974-2006

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

No special restrictions unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.

Biographical / Historical

O'Neil v. Picillo: In July of 1977, the Picillos agreed to allow part of their pig farm in Coventry, Rhode Island to be used as a disposal site for drummed and bulk waste. Thousands of barrels of hazardous waste were dumped on the farm, culminating later that year in a monstrous fire ripping through the site. In 1979, the state and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly undertook to clean up the area. What they found, in the words of the district court, were massive trenches and pits "filled with free-flowing, multi-colored, pungent liquid wastes" and thousands of "dented and corroded drums containing a veritable potpourri of toxic fluids." O'Neil v. Picillo, 682 F.Supp. 706, 709, 725 (D.R.I.1988).


This case involves the State of Rhode Island's attempt to recover the clean-up costs it incurred between 1979 and 1982 and to hold responsible parties liable for all future costs associated with the site. The state's complaint originally named thirty-five defendants, all but five of whom eventually entered into settlements totaling $5.8 million, the money to be shared by the state and EPA. After a month-long bench trial, the district court, in a thorough and well reasoned opinion, found three of the remaining five companies jointly and severally liable under section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq. ("CERCLA") for all of the State's past clean-up costs not covered by settlement agreements, as well as for all costs that may become necessary in the future. The other two defendants obtained judgments in their favor, the court concluding that the state had failed to prove that the waste attributed to those companies was "hazardous," as that term is defined under the Act.


Landfill & Resource Recovery, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Management, State of Rhode Island, et al: Landfill & Resource Recovery, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Management, State of Rhode Island, et al involved a landfill permitting dispute between Landfill & Resource Recovery, Inc. and the RIDEM involving jurisdiction. The parties at the site were many and varied - the United States, the State of Rhode Island, four owners/operators of the Site, twelve generators and transporters of hazardous substances disposed of at the Site, and two "ability to pay" parties. And the issues were complex, involving claims under section 107 of the CERCLA for reimbursement of past and future response costs, implementation of response actions and civil penalties for failure to comply with a unilateral administrative order ("UAO") issued under Section 106 of the Act.


The parties began negotiations under the First Circuit's Court of Appeals Mediation Program (CAMP) and ultimately reached a settlement through the assistance of U.S. District Court Judge Mazzone. The consent decree resolved the United States' complaint, a state court action related to the Site, and an appeal in the First Circuit challenging an earlier de minimis settlement. This settlement determined a reasonable settlement payment for the "ability to pay" parties, and obligated the remaining settling parties to perform operation and maintenance of the remedial action and to pay past and future oversight costs, as well as a civil penalty of $400,000 for noncompliance with the UAO. It also resolved natural resource damage claims of the Department of the Interior and incorporated a supplemental environmental project in the amount of $525,000 to purchase wetlands or related property within the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. When combined with previous settlement recoveries for this site, and the performance of the remedial action by the settlers, this mediated settlement will result in a recovery of 97% of expected Site costs.


Sheldon Whitehouse, Attorney General State of Rhode Island, and Jan Reitsma, Director of the RI DEM vs. David F. LaRoche, LaRoche Grantor Income Trust and Q.L.C.R.I., Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit No. 001127 sub nom. Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse, et al. vs. Q.L.C.R.I, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 88-704L, and C.A. No. 88-705L (Consolidated) U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island; State of Rhode Island vs. David F. LaRoche, File Nos.W1/91-0347, P2/00-2122 Providence County Superior Court; and David F. LaRoche, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy No. 91-10005 U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island: These cases collectively chronicle the various judicial proceedings that the State instituted against David F. LaRoche and his closely held corporations arising out of the nefarious financial activities of LaRoche who was one of primary figures responsible for the collapse of the credit union structure in the State of Rhode Island at the commencement of the administration of Governor Sundlin.


State of Rhode Island, et al v. Narragansett Tribe of Indians, C.A. No. 92-0425-P (1 file), Narragansett Indian Aquaculture Proposal(1 file), Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island and Narragansett Indian Wetuomuck Housing Authority v. The Narragansett Electric Company, The State of Rhode Island, The Town of Charlestown, C.A. No. 93-667T, (2 files)-Early 1990s- These files are significant historical cases that need to be maintained in the State Archives Division. Narragansett Indian cases are ongoing so it is a necessary to be able to look up past cases.


Richard Allegria v. State of Rhode Island, U.S. District Court of RI, C.A. No. 97-147ML, Supreme Court, C.A. No. 95-0045 (1 file) 1997-1998: This is a wetlands “taking claim” brought in Fed. Ct. after the claim was raised in State Superior Ct. trial and denied and affirmed on appeal. The Federal court claim was dismissed and the case was not appealed further. This is a landmark case and as such should be maintained at the State Archives Division.


Medeiros v. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, 327 F.Supp. 145 (D.R.I. 2004), affd. sub nom. Medeiros v. Vincent, 431 F.3d 25 (1st Cir.2005), cert. denied 126 S.Ct. 2968 (2006): This court case was the successful defense of regulations adopted by the State and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that restricted the amount of lobsters that could be harvested by gear other than by traps. The challenge, which was initially filed in State court and removed by the DEM to federal court, alleged that the regulations were violative of various state and federal constitutional and statutory provisions. The DEM’s successful defense in the United District Court for the District of Rhode Island was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the challengers’ attempt to have the decision overturned by the United States Supreme Court was denied.

Extent

43.92 Cubic Feet (30 record cartons)

Abstract

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Legal Division landmark legal case files (GRS 2.1b) includes the records of four landmark legal cases.

Arrangement

By case

Custodial History

Records were created by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Legal Division. Records were stored at off-site facility through the Public Records Center prior to be deemed permanent records. Records were transferred and accessioned at the Rhode Island State Archives on August 8, 2012.


An additional box containing records related to various cases concerning David F. LaRoche were transferred to the Rhode Island State Archives on August 16, 2012 and were included as part of Accession 2012-32.


An additional box was transferred to the Rhode Island State Archives on June 2, 2014 containing records relating to the following Department of Environmental Management Landmark cases:


State of Rhode Island, et al v. Narragansett Tribe of Indians, C.A. No. 92-0425-P (1 file), Narragansett Indian Aquaculture Proposal(1 file), Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island and Narragansett Indian Wetuomuck Housing Authority v. The Narragansett Electric Company, The State of Rhode Island, The Town of Charlestown, C.A. No. 93-667T, (2 files)-Early 1990s- These files are significant historical cases that need to be maintained in the State Archives Division. Narragansett Indian cases are ongoing so it is a necessary to be able to look up past cases.


Richard Allegria v. State of Rhode Island, U.S. District Court of RI, C.A. No. 97-147ML, Supreme Court, C.A. No. 95-0045 (1 file) 1997-1998, This is a wetlands “taking claim” brought in Fed. Ct. after the claim was raised in State Superior Ct. trial and denied and affirmed on appeal. The Federal court claim was dismissed and the case was not appealed further. This is a landmark case and as such should be maintained at the State Archives Division.


Records were created by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Legal Division. Records were stored at off-site facility through the Public Records Center prior to be deemed permanent records. Records were transferred and accessioned at the Rhode Island State Archives on August 8, 2012.


An additional box containing records related to various cases concerning David F. LaRoche were transferred to the Rhode Island State Archives on August 16, 2012 and were included as part of Accession 2012-32.


An additional box was transferred to the Rhode Island State Archives on June 2, 2014 containing records relating to the following Department of Environmental Management Landmark cases:
State of Rhode Island, et al v. Narragansett Tribe of Indians, C.A. No. 92-0425-P (1 file), Narragansett Indian Aquaculture Proposal(1 file), Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island and Narragansett Indian Wetuomuck Housing Authority v. The Narragansett Electric Company, The State of Rhode Island, The Town of Charlestown, C.A. No. 93-667T, (2 files)-Early 1990s- These files are significant historical cases that need to be maintained in the State Archives Division. Narragansett Indian cases are ongoing so it is a necessary to be able to look up past cases.
Richard Allegria v. State of Rhode Island, U.S. District Court of RI, C.A. No. 97-147ML, Supreme Court, C.A. No. 95-0045 (1 file) 1997-1998, This is a wetlands “taking claim” brought in Fed. Ct. after the claim was raised in State Superior Ct. trial and denied and affirmed on appeal. The Federal court claim was dismissed and the case was not appealed further. This is a landmark case and as such should be maintained at the State Archives Division.


An additional folder was transferred to the Rhode Island State Archives on July 9, 2014 containing color slides relating to the O'Neil v. Picillo, 1974-1989 case that was accessioned on August 8, 2012.


Additional files were transferred to the Rhode Island State Archives on July 25, 2014 containing records related to the following case:
Medeiros v. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Comm., 327 F.Supp. 145 (D.R.I. 2004), affd. sub nom. Medeiros v. Vincent, 431 F.3d 25 (1st Cir.2005), cert. denied 126 S.Ct. 2968 (2006), This court case was the successful defense of regulations adopted by the State and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that restricted the amount of lobsters that could be harvested by gear other than by traps. The challenge, which was initially filed in State court and removed by the DEM to federal court, alleged that the regulations were violative of various state and federal constitutional and statutory provisions. The DEM’s successful defense in the United District Court for the District of Rhode Island was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the challengers’ attempt to have the decision overturned by the United States Supreme Court was denied.

Accruals

An accrual to these records was transferred from the Department of Environmental Management to the State Archives on June 2, 2014 (Accession 2014-25).
An accrual to these records was transferred from the Department of Environmental Management to the State Archives on July 9, 2014 (Accession 2014-31).
An accrual to these records was transferred from the Department of Environmental Management to the State Archives on July 25, 2014 (Accession 2014-34).


No further accruals are scheduled at this time.

Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rhode Island State Archives Repository

Contact:
33 Broad Street
Providence RI 02903 USA
401-222-2353