San Diego Law Review


Lance L. Shea

Library of Congress Authority File


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The subject of this Note is the citizen's right to enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act'(CWA) by bringing suit against violators in federal court. In Gwaltney of Smithfield v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Supreme Court was faced with balancing the "citizen-plaintiff's" interest in enforcing pollution-control laws against the "industrial-defendant's" interest in adequately defending pollution enforcement suits and remaining free from frivolous actions. The issues in this case were the citizen's right to bring suit for damages created through past violations of the CWA and the requirements which the citizen-plaintiff must meet to receive standing. This Note will discuss these issues by introducing the facts of the Gwaltney dispute. This Note will examine the pertinent law existing prior to this dispute by focusing on a three-way split in the federal appellate courts. Finally, this Note will recount the Court's opinion and concurrence, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the positions taken by the majority and concurrence.

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