Judge rules EPA liable for $1.7 million in malicious prosecution csse

By Alejandro de los Rios | Oct 14, 2011

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency maliciously prosecuted an oil refinery manager in the late 1990s.

Hubert Vidrine Jr. and his wife Tammy were awarded $1.7 million from U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act for malicious prosecution and loss of consortium.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty issued the 142-page ruling, in a rare finding that holds the federal government responsible for overzealous agents and their conduct.

After an investigation by the EPA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Vidrine was indicted in 1999 for storing hazardous materials while working at the Canal Refining Company, despite no supporting evidence.

The government filed a motion to dismiss the charges in 2003. Keith Phillips, the EPA Agent who spearheaded the investigation, recently pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and perjury and faces up to 15 years in jail.

Doherty found that "Phillips testimony, conduct and documentation illustrate a deliberate patten[sic] of disregard for oaths taken, truth of the matter involved, wholly lacking in intellectual honesty, and exhibiting a deliberate intent to mislead all involved."

The ruling awarded Vidrine $50,000 in lost income, $900,000 in loss of earning capacity, $127,000 in attorneys fees he spent defending himself in the original prosecution, $400,000 in general damages and $200,000 in loss of consortium.

Doherty wrote that that court would have awarded punitive damages but was barred by law to award such damages in a case against the federal government.

Federal Case 6:07-cv-01204

Want to get notified whenever we write about U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ?

Sign-up Next time we write about U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

More News

The Record Network