Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc.

PETITIONER: Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd.
RESPONDENT: Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc.
LOCATION: Wall Street Journal Corporate Headquarters

DOCKET NO.: 86-473
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1987-1988)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 484 US 49 (1987)
ARGUED: Oct 05, 1987
DECIDED: Dec 01, 1987

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 05, 1987 in Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 01, 1987 in Gwaltney of Smithfield, Ltd. v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc.

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the court in No. 86-473, Gwaltney of Smithfield versus Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be announced by Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

This case is here on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Here, the Clean Water Act provides that states may grant permits authorizing the discharge of set levels of certain pollutants under certain conditions.

After receiving a permit from the State of Virginia, petitioner repeatedly violated the conditions of the permit by exceeding effluent limitations.

The respondents filed suit against that.

The petitioner moved to dismiss the respondent's suit for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, arguing that the alleged violations occurred wholly in the past and that Section 505 of the Act which authorizes citizen suits does not grant jurisdiction over suits attacking such violation.

The District Court held that Section 505 permits Federal Courts to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction over suits for wholly past violations.

The Court of Appeals affirmed on the ground that those violations are encompassed by Section 505 and that they could pass on the District Court's alternative holding.

In the opinion filed with the Clerk today, we conclude that Section 505 does confer jurisdiction over citizen suits where the citizen plaintiffs make a good faith allegation of continuous or intermittent violation.

We, therefore vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and remand the change for consideration of the good faith allegation issue.

Justice Scalia has filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment in which Justice Stevens and Justice O'Connor have joined.