Monday, July 7, 2008

Followell v. United States

Jul 3: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, Case No. 07-3017. Cheryl Followell, as executrix, brought the action on behalf of the estate of her deceased mother, Betty Gurley. Followell and Gurley Refining Company (GRC) appealed an order of the district court dismissing this action for failure to state a claim and the Appeals Court affirmed.

The Appeals Court cited the district court in saying that the dispute between Plaintiffs and U.S. EPA (EPA) has had, "a long and tortuous history" reaching back more than twenty years when the EPA filed a civil action in 1987 alleging Plaintiffs violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). During the course of the CERCLA litigation, William Gurley fraudulently transferred roughly $17 million in assets to Betty Gurley. After judgment was entered against him, he declared bankruptcy. The Appeals Court said, "For over a decade, William Gurley, Betty Gurley, and GRC have engaged in 'vexatious litigation' to prevent the EPA from collecting the debt." The Appeals Court said in a brief 3-page opinion, "the district court's conclusion res judicata precludes Plaintiffs' 'relitigation of a claim on grounds that were raised or could have been raised in the prior action.'"

Access the complete opinion (
click here).

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