United States of America v. Smith
Order re: 58 Stipulation Regarding Jury Demand And Bifurcation filed by United States of America. The Court construes the 58 Stipulation as a Joint Motion to Bifurcate trial and GRANTS the motion as further set out. The Phase I trial is s et for Jury Selection on April 1, 2014 at 8:45 a.m., for trial sometime during the month of April 2014. The specific dates and times for both the Phase I trial (jury) and Phase II trial (non-jury) will be determined at the Final Pretrial Conference. Signed by Judge Kristi K. DuBose on 1/27/2014. copies to parties, copy mailed to Ignacia S. Moreno (sdb).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 12-00498-KD-C
This matter is before the Court on the parties’ ”Joint Stipulation Regarding Jury Demand
and Bifurcation” (Doc. 58), which the Court construes as a Rule 42 motion to bifurcate.
The United States sued Defendant Hamilton Smith, alleging that he has violated Section
301(a) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1311(a), by discharging fill material without a permit
on his property in Bay Minette, Alabama.
The parties presently agree that pursuant to Tull v.
United States, 481 U.S. 412 (1987),1 and Rule 42,2 certain issues are not proper for submission
to a jury, but rather for the Court to decide (i.e., that a jury trial is available for the issue of CWA
liability but is not available for the issue of remedy).
Additionally, Defendant Smith, who
initially demanded a trial by jury, has stipulated (in part) to a non-jury trial under Rule 39(a)(1).
Upon consideration, the Court finds that Rule 42 bifurcation of the trial for convenience,
efficiency, and to avoid any potential prejudice that may arise from the presentation of evidence
associated with Defendant Smith’s alleged CWA liability versus the remedy and civil penalty for
1 In Tull, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Seventh Amendment guarantees a jury trial to determine
liability, but not the amount of the fine, in an action by the federal government seeking CWA civil penalties.
2 Rule 42 of the Federal Civil Rules of Procedure provides for bifurcation (separate trials): “[f]or
convenience, to avoid prejudice, or to expedite and economize, the court may order a separate trial of one or more
separate issues, claims, crossclaims, counterclaims, or third-party claims. When ordering a separate trial, the court
must preserve any federal right to a jury trial.” Fed.Civ.P. Rule 42(b).
CWA violations, is proper.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the parties’ joint motion to
bifurcate trial of this matter (Doc. 58) is GRANTED as follows:
This case shall be bifurcated for trial purposes.
2) The first phase of trial (Phase I) shall be limited to the issue of Defendant Smith’s
liability under the CWA for alleged fill material violations and shall be held before a jury.
Phase I trial will also address Defendant Smith’s affirmative defenses.
3) Defendant Smith has withdrawn his demand for a jury trial regarding “Dam E,” as
CWA liability for that structure has been conceded. Remedial issues relating to “Dam
E” shall be determined by the Court as set forth in Paragraph 3.
4) Defendant Smith has withdrawn his demand for a jury trial on the issue of remedy,
including the United States’ claims for injunctive relief (i.e., environmental restoration
and mitigation), and the amount of civil penalty for any CWA violations relating to any
of the alleged fill discharges at issue. Thus, the second phase (Phase II) shall be a
non-jury trial, and at a minimum will address the United States’ claims for injunctive
relief and a civil penalty for the fill discharge for which CWA liability is admitted.
Similarly, the second phase of trial will address those remedial issues regarding any
CWA violations found in connection with the other four alleged fill material violations at
issue in Phase I.
5) The Phase I trial is set for Jury Selection on April 1, 2014 at 8:45 a.m., for trial
sometime during the month of April 2014. The specific dates and times for both the
Phase I trial (jury) and Phase II trial (non-jury) will be determined at the Final Pretrial
DONE and ORDERED this the 27th day of January 2014.
/s/ Kristi K. DuBose
KRISTI K. DuBOSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?