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Supreme Court Case

January 10, 1978

The Supreme Court case Adamo Wrecking Company v.United States is included in the Library of Congress. This case is widely referred to as the baseline for interpretation and application of NESHAP standards in legal education today.

In 1977 a particular concern to demolition contractors was the inability to keep up with the frequent changes and the interpretation of methods for achieving compliance with NESHAP standards. John Adamo Sr. faced the unfortunate circumstance of being cited by the US EPA for non-compliance to a regulation that had undergone a recent change and was ambiguous in its meaning. John faced not only the threat of a substantial monetary penalty, but also incarceration if the US EPA could prove he had willfully violated their regulation.

Instead of just accepting the EPA’s determination and paying the fine to avoid possible incarceration, John took it upon himself to stand up to a system that was making it largely impossible for contractors to comply with its standards. With the financial assistance of the NADC, John took his fight all the way to the Supreme Court to define work rules and regulations for demolition contactors that were patently unfair under the US EPA’s NESHAP guidelines. He was ultimately victorious in his fight for a contractor’s right to choose its means and methods to achieve compliance with laws and regulations. The case, Adamo Wrecking Company v. United States, is included in the Library of Congress and a current law student recently remarked to John Adamo Jr. that his class was studying the case as part of a Law School assignment.