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Case Detail


Vidrine v. United States
On September 30, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ordered the U.S. to pay $1.7 million to a WLF client, Hubert Vidrine, based on findings that it maliciously prosecuted Vidrine for alleged environmental crimes. In its 142-page ruling, the court held that the federal government never even had probable cause to believe that Vidrine committed a crime, and that the prosecution was pursued because of malice against Vidrine on the part of Keith Phillips, the EPA agent who headed up the government’s case. The decision is a complete victory for WLF, which has been assisting Vidrine with his claim for five years. Although the damages were awarded solely against the U.S. (under the Federal Tort Claims Act), EPA agent Phillips has not emerged unscathed from this affair. He was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his testimony in the tort suit. Press reports indicate that on October 3, 2011, he pleaded guilty to those charges.
Case Status:
Victory. Monitoring for appeal
More Information and Downloads:
7/23/2007: Download the Brief
7/12/2007: Download Petition to DOJ To Stop Environment Prosecution Abuse
6/12/2007: Download Petition to EPA to Revise Criminal Enforcement Policy
Press Release: EPA Sued for Five Million Dollars for Malicious Prosecution
Litigation Update: Court Orders U.S. To Pay $1.7 Million For EPA's Malicious RCRA Prosecution