Bryan Cohen Aug. 1, 2014, 10:36am

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced a judgment on Wednesday against junk dealers that allegedly violated Wisconsin laws related to ozone-depleting refrigerants at a Brown County metal salvage facility.

Metals America LLC and Harvey Siegel allegedly intentionally released ozone-depleting refrigerant gases into the atmosphere while dismantling refrigerant-bearing appliances like air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators and freezers. Between June 1, 2011 and September 8, 2011, Metals America employees allegedly cut the refrigerant lines on at least 145 refrigerant-bearing appliances.

When refrigerants are released from the improper handling of appliances, ozone-depleting gases lead to the depletion of the ozone layer above the earth. As the ozone layer depletes, the amount of ultraviolet-B radiation that reaches the earth increases. Increased levels of ultraviolet-B radiation results in damage to crops and aquatic phytoplankton and an increase in skin cancer.

Van Hollen's office filed a lawsuit against Metal America and Siegel on March 13, 2013.

Brown County Circuit Court Judge Kendall Kelley approved the stipulation and order for judgment on Tuesday. Under the terms of the judgment, Metals America and Harvey Siegel must pay $20,000 in forfeitures, mandatory surcharges and court costs. The defendants were also ordered to comply with Wisconsin laws related to the handling of ozone-depleting refrigerants.

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