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Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction Over Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Citizen Suits

The recent decision in Litgo New Jersey, Inc. v. Commissioner New Jersey Dept. of Envt’l Prot’n, No. 12-1288 (3d Cir. Aug. 6, 2013) involves mostly a Superfund case, but it also involves a claim under the citizen suit provision of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. 6972.  The parties had had earlier litigation in New Jersey state court.  Under the New Jersey entire controversy doctrine, had plaintiff been able to bring its RCRA claim in the state court action, it would have been barred by claim preclusion from bringing it in the later federal case.  However, the court of appeals held that section 7002(a) of RCRA vestsexclusive jurisdiction in the federal courts.  Cf. City of Scranton v. Dept. of Envt’l Prot’n, No. 94-060-C (Pa. Envt’l Hearing Bd. Nov. 4, 1997).  Note that the day following the Litgo decision, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided Ackerman v. ExxonMobil, No. 12-1103 (4th Cir. Aug. 7, 2013), affirming abstention in an MTBE case in favor of a state tort action.

To read Third Circuit Found Exclusive Fed. Jurisdiction Under RCRA, 36 Pa. L. Weekly 763 (Aug. 20, 2013), click here.

©2023 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume III, Number 233
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About this Author

David G. Mandelbaum, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Philadelphia, Environmental Law Litigation Attorney
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David G. Mandelbaum represents clients facing problems under the environmental laws and serves as Co-Chair of the firm's Environmental Practice. He regularly represents clients in lawsuits and has also helped clients achieve satisfactory outcomes through regulatory negotiation or private transactions. David teaches Superfund, and Oil and Gas Law in rotation at the Temple Law School. He has taught Environmental Law, Climate Change and Land Use Law and Administration in the past, and he is a regular writer and speaker on the subjects.

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215-988-7813
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