Pozsgai's Ordered to Restore Illegally Filled Wetlands
In 1986, John Pozsgai (deceased) and his wife, Gizella Pozsgai sought to purchase a property in Morrisville, Pennsylvania to expand their truck repair business. Pozsgai obtained a substantial discount on the property because he knew it contained wetlands. After purchase, they dumped fill into the wetlands, ignoring a cease and desist order from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). Ultimately in 1990, the Court ordered a permanent injunction requiring Pozsgai to cease his unlawful activities and approved ACE’s restoration plan, which Pozsgai was required to perform or let ACE perform. Pozsgai has failed to comply with the restoration plan for decades and ignored the Court’s 2007 Order of Civil Contempt. Most recently Pozsgai, in an effort to reopen the judgment against her, produced a new expert report challenging the wetlands designation and requested that the Court grant her the right to limited discovery depositions. The United States and DRN (as an Intervenor) opposed this Motion. DRN argued that this Discovery should not be granted because Pozsgai cannot argue that her 2019 expert report is truly newly discovered evidence, since she has been aware of the existence of ACE’s wetland delineation for thirty years. Further, DRN argued that Pozsgai’s actions and inactions contravened multiple Court Orders and she should not equitably be allowed to reopen discovery, imposing further delay and causing harm to Interveners, ACE, and the environment. DRN has also supported the United States’ Motion to find Pozsgai in Civil Contempt and to require them to comply with the necessary restoration.
After both the Government and DRN opposed Pozsgai’s Motion, the Court denied the Motion requesting additional discovery based on the 2019 expert report. On November 9, 2020, the Court granted the Government’s Motion to Enforce the 2007 Contempt Order and ordered further sanctions against Pozsgai. Two days later, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied Pozsgai’s petition for a rehearing. On December 7, 2020, Pozsgai filed a Motion to Reconsider and Vacate the Court’s November Order to Enforce the original Contempt Order, which was opposed by both DRN and the United States. After a premature denial of this Motion by the Court, the Court ultimately denied the Motion to Reconsider on January 25, 2021. DRN will continue to support the United States’ efforts to enforce the Clean Water Act and advocate for the restoration of the filled wetlands at the center of this litigation.