82.1 F
San Fernando
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Court Rules Officers of Company Personally Liable

Individual officers of a company may be held personally liable as operators of industrial facilities, such as underground tanks, according to a ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal. The ruling came in the case of a $2.5 million civil suit against two brothers who were said to have failed to follow laws regulating underground storage tanks. At trial, Ned and John Roscoe were held liable for leakage of gasoline from an underground storage tank in Galt, Calif. The tank belonged to a company they own and operate. However, the brothers had claimed they had no personal liability in the matter based on the definition of “operator” in the statute covering underground storage tanks. They contended the lower court had erroneously applied the Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine, which the U.S. Supreme Court has said is applicable when a relevant statute is designed to secure public health and safety. Indeed, the appellate court ruled against the Roscoes, saying that the Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine was appropriately applied, thus making the two individuals jointly responsible for damages associated with the more than 3,000 gallons of gasoline that seeped into the ground. The ruling further entrenches the idea that individuals can be responsible for the actions of the companies they run. The Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine has expanded in its invocation since it was first promulgated in the 1940s at the Supreme Court.

Featured Articles

Related Articles