Third Circuit Approves Use of Rule 68 Offer of Judgment in Environmental Citizen Suits, Providing New Leverage to Defendants

July 16, 2013
Kate Campbell and Drew Silton
The Legal Intelligencer

Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has been characterized by some as the most overlooked or underutilized tool available to defense counsel in federal litigation.  And until last month, the tool was more or less unavailable in environmental citizen suits because its cost-shifting provision was considered to be “simply inimical to the goal of encouraging law firms to represent Plaintiffs in such actions.”  But that all changed when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its June 4, 2013 decision in Interfaith Community Organization v. Honeywell International, Inc., the first reported decision in the country holding that Rule 68 offers of judgment are in fact valid in the context of an environmental citizen suit.  

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