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7th Circuit dismisses campground owner’s appeal after raising new arguments

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A Cedar Grove campground owner’s appeal regarding the judgment that the campground is subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act raised an “interesting question,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals noted, but the judges dismissed the appeal because the owner raised arguments for the first time on appeal.

In United States of America v. Ronald Ritz, 11-3320, Ronald Ritz, owner of Cottonwood Campground, fought the grant of summary judgment in favor of the government on whether the campground is subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act and its regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency issued an order in 1998 that it found Cottonwood operated a public water system at the campground, so it must test its water. Ritz and his brother Thomas, who sold the campground to Ronald, didn’t comply with the testing requirements. The brothers denied the water system constituted a public water system as contemplated by the SDWA because the water spigots are marked “non-potable.”

The act says a public water system is one that has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves at least 25 individuals.

After granting summary judgment to the government on the issue, the District Court learned that Thomas Ritz had not been receiving communications related to the case, so it set aside the ruling against Thomas. He later responded, and the District Court again granted summary judgment for the government. He was later dismissed from the case and Ronald Ritz was ordered to pay nearly $30,000 in civil penalties.

Ronald Ritz’s primary argument was that the campground didn’t serve at least 25 people daily for at least 60 days of the year. Now, he argues by analogy that the campground is like a single-family home that may have many faucets but is still not considered a public water system for purposes of the SDWA.

“The merits of Ritz’s new argument raise an interesting question, but we need not consider it because this line of argument was never developed below,” Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote. Ronald Ritz never brought up this argument before the District Court, nor did he bring up several other arguments, including that he never had an opportunity for notice and hearing for the alleged violations.

“Each of these arguments was raised by Ronald’s brother, Thomas, in his separate response to the government’s motion for summary judgment (and rejected by the district court), but Ronald never once sought to join that response or assert any such arguments on his own. Therefore, we must conclude that these arguments are waived for purposes of this appeal,” the court held.

 

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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