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United States Law Week Covers Appellate Litigation Clinic Victory

May 17, 2011

United States Law Week, published by the Bureau of National Affairs, highlighted a victory by the school’s Appellate Litigation Clinic in its May 17 issue.

The article covers a case decided in early May by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which ruled that a citizen suit against a recycling facility may proceed in federal court, even though a state agency in Indiana was pursuing enforcement actions against the same entity.

It notes that Kelly Payne, a member of the Class of 2011, had argued the case under the supervision of Professor Richard Frankel, who founded the school’s Appellate Litigation Clinic.

During arguments, Payne said the citizens’ complaint raised separate issues from a suit filed by the state of Indiana. Specifically, Payne noted that the citizens’ suit addressed types of solid waste that were not covered by state regulations. She also argued that the lower court’s dismissal of the private suit contradicted the intent of congress in passing the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to allow citizens to pursue legal claims on their own.

Michael Sanford, a member of the same class, had worked with Payne on writing briefs for the case as a part of the school’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, which is led by Professor Richard Frankel.

“They both mastered very complex legal doctrines and were able to demonstrate the hardship that would befall real people,” Frankel said. “They explained very clearly how the district court got it wrong when it dismissed the citizens’ suit.”