Court rules state can impose $700,000 in penalties

Ashley Stinnett Aug. 14, 2009, 2:34am

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - A New Jersey Superior Court of Appeals has ruled a $700,000 fine against a waste disposal plant was not excessive.

The state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) imposed the fine against Magic Disposal Inc., after a panel found the company in violation of the state's Solid Waste Management Act.

In its decision Wednesday, the three judge appellate panel said it was "struck by the number of repeat violations of Magic's permit," and that the $700,000 in penalties was warranted in light of the case record and "the need for deterrence of others."

The ruling comes on the heels of litigation against the company dating back to 2002, when the company repeatedly violated state law by bringing in more waste than allowed.

Magic Disposal officials were told to clean up the facility after waste began piling up at the site creating a health hazard. The company also failed to clear waste that had collected on floors.

In its appeal of the fines, Magic Disposal officials argued that, "the events complained of took place at a transfer station ... which has been closed since 2005 with no possibility of reopening."

The company also claimed that no environmental or health hazard ever occurred as a result of its conduct.

The appellate court rejected Magic Disposal's claims, siding with the state's DEP.

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