The First Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that Puerto Rican environmental authorities denied plaintiff’s due process rights by threatening enforcement unless plaintiff complied with state waste regulations. Redondo Waste Sys., Inc. v. López-Freytes, No. 10-1865 (1st Cir. 10/18/11).
Plaintiff is a Puerto Rico-based company that treats and disposes of regulated medical waste. For approximately 10 years, the company was inspected and monitored by the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB), which recommended in 2006 that the company’s facility be shut down and ordered the company to stop collecting medical waste. Unable to enjoin the agency, the company resumed collecting and disposing of waste in 2007 until its shredder broke down.
In 2008, the company sued EQB alleging that (i) regulators had violated its due process rights, (ii) the authorities had retaliated against it in violation of the First Amendment, (iii) it had been deprived of its property without notice or hearing in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and (iv) the agency treated one of its competitors more favorably. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action, and plaintiff appealed.
According to the appeals court, “[n]o set of allegations specific to any defendant comes anywhere near stating a valid claim.” It also stated, “Redondo’s complaint did not meet even minimal pleading standards; therefore, we affirm the district court’s dismissal order.”