Upholding CWA Negligence Standard In The 5th Circuit

Law360, New York (May 23, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT) -- On May 15, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in U.S. v. Pruett, No. 11-30572 (5th Cir. 2012), distinguished Ahmad, but did not overrule it.

In Ahmad, the court had to decide whether the “knowingly” requirement of the Clean Water Act (§ 1319(c)(2)(A)) applied to each element of the offense, or instead only to the “discharge” element. The Ahmad court determined that the mens rea requirement applied to each nonjurisdictional element of the offense because the statute was silent on the mens rea requirement for a knowing violation.

The Pruett court held, in contrast, that “no investigation...

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