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Katten Client United Water Cleared of All Charges in Indiana Federal Court

Firm News | December 13, 2012

On November 9, 2012, a federal jury acquitted Katten client United Water Environmental Services Inc., along with a current employee and a former employee, of all charges in a criminal case alleging violations of the Clean Water Act. The acquittals followed a two-week trial in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. In December of 2010, the US Department of Justice, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana had filed a 26-count criminal indictment against United Water, one of the largest water services provider in the nation, and the two employees. The indictment, which followed a two-year investigation by DOJ and EPA, alleged that United Water violated the Clean Water Act by tampering with the required E. coli monitoring method at the Gary Wastewater Treatment Facility in Gary, Indiana, at which United Water had served as the contract operator.

Throughout the nearly two-year life of the case, Katten served as lead counsel on the briefing of a number of key legal issues, resulting in a successful ruling that the government would be required to establish a heightened level of intent—the first time such an intent standard has been imposed in a criminal Clean Water Act case. The verdict completely exonerated United Water and the accused employees of the charges, which, if proven, could have resulted in substantial fines and penalties and terms of imprisonment. 

The lead Katten attorneys on the case were environmental partners Steve Solow, former chief of the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Section, and Kristine Rembach, and associate Robert Smith. Other Katten attorneys that worked on the case include environmental partner Karl Heisler and environmental associates Alex Menotti, Anne Carpenter, Genus Heidary and Camille Richard, and litigation associate Mpoli Simwanza-Johnson. Katten represented United Water as co-counsel with Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

See attached press release regarding United States v. United Water Services, Inc., Dwain Bowie and Gregory Ciaccio, Case No. 2:10 Cr 217.

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