A New York developer, who was recently indicted by a federal grand jury for criminal violations of the Clean Water Act (CW A), has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking $65 million in damages, claiming his due process rights were violated. Huntress v. Mugdan, No. 12-559 (W.D.N.Y. filed 6/15/12).
According to the complaint, EPA agents, without a reasonable basis, “engaged in a pattern of escalating harassment, threats, intimidation, unwarranted litigation, and other wrongful actions that ultimately culminated in the defendant’s directing the U.S. Department of Justice to file a vindictive criminal indictment . . . [causing injury] . . . of not less than $64,960,000 in damages.” In November 2012, plaintiff was indicted for building on wetlands he owned, illegally dumping topsoil on more than 90 acres of wetlands and ignoring regulatory actions and a court order.
In addition to damages, the complaint seeks an injunction against the assertion of CW A jurisdiction over plaintiff’s land and a declaration that the government’s actions are arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.