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Polsinelli Shughart Tax and Business Planning in the News

Tax and Business Planning Attorneys

 Lucas J. Narducci
Practice Area Chair

Tiffany J. Andersen
John D. Burnside
Barton D. Day
Michael C. Ford
Troy B. Froderman
Maribeth M. Klein
Mitchell J. Klein
Margaret B. LaBianca
Anna "Anya" P.B. Mallett
Anthony W. Merrill
John D. Petersen
Frances R. Sjoberg
Megan H. Tracy
Adam R. Troutwine
Andy Wright
Scott A Young

 

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March 2013

 

An Environmental Alert:

Supreme Court Limits Time for Government to Seek Penalties

 

Companies with EPA violations may be impacted by a recent Supreme Court ruling. On February 27th, 2013 United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that the Federal government must file a lawsuit within five years of the occurrence of a violation of law in order to obtain penalties, regardless of when the government first learned of the violation. The government had argued that if a violation involved some type of fraudulent conduct, the claim should not accrue until after the government learned it had occurred. [Click here to learn more.]

The case involved the Security and Exchange Commission, but the Court's ruling applies to all government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency. Because penalties seek to punish, not provide compensation to an injured party, the EPA cannot seek penalties more than five years after the violation occurred.

Actions to Take

If companies discover old violations in conducting self assessments or reviews, they need to be very careful in weighing the decision to self-report those violations. While the initial violation may be protected by the statute of limitations defense, the EPA could claim that even though the initial occurrence was more than five years ago, all reporting, permit application, release and notice types of violations ("paper violations") are ongoing until they are corrected. In turn, this could lead to much higher calculated penalties. It becomes critical that companies correct any old paper violations as soon as possible. [Click here to learn more.]

For More Information

For further information or to learn now this decision could impact your business, please contact:

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