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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. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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