10th Circuit Mentions Split Noted in Bench Trial Re Awarding of Attorneys Fees in Suits for Personal Financial Gain Under Clean Air Act

Per Pound v. Airosol Company, Inc., --- F.3d ----, 2007 WL 2358674 (10th Cir.(Kan.) Aug 20, 2007) (NO. 06-3299):

On December 18, 2002, Pro Products brought suit against Airosol under the citizen suit provision of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. § 7604(a)(1) . Pro Products sued Airosol, alleging, in pertinent part, that Airosol was in violation of § 7671i(d)(1)(A) of the CAA. On March 10, 2004, the district court granted Pro Products' motion for partial summary judgment finding, as a matter of law, that Airosol's manufacture, sale, and distribution of Black Knight violated § 7671i(d)(1)(A) of the CAA. Following a bench trial, the district court entered an order on July 18, 2006, declining to penalize Airosol for its CAA violations. The court cited other factors, but relied heavily on its conclusion that Pro Products' suit was brought to remove a competitor from the market and not out of a concern for the environment. The court also denied Pro Products' renewed request for attorney fees and costs noting a circuit split, and no guidance from this court, on whether an award of attorney fees is appropriate "when the prevailing party brought the suit for personal financial gain rather than to further the purpose of the Clean Air Act." Appx. at 545. Pro Products now challenges the district court's decision not to penalize Airosol for violating the Act, and also the district court's denial of its request for attorney fees and costs.


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