Facts in the Alumina case.
Alumina Inc. is a $4bn aluminum maker and it is situated on the fringe of Lake Dira in the State of Erenwon. Alumina has business interests in automotive components and manufacturing material, bauxite mining, alumina refining and alumina smelting. Five years ago, during a routine check by the EPA, Alumina was reported to be in violation of an environmental discharge regulation where excess PHA (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) were detected and found to be above the prescribed limit in waste coming from the plant. After the EPA ordered clean up was completed, the follow up report indicated that the violation had been ???corrected???. (Univesity of Phoenix, 2009)
Five years later, Kelly Bates, a local resident, is alleging that the Alumina Corporation??™s previous negligent conduct and violation of environmental laws is the proximate cause if her daughter??™s leukemia. (Universty of Phoenix, 2009).
Identifying Regulatory Risks
The regulatory risks found in Alumina case are: Defamation, First Amendment and Freedom of Information Act.
Defamation: In order to understand this regulatory risk, it is important to mention that defamation is a type of tort of law within the intentional torts, defined as an untrue statement made by one party to another about a third party. The elements for defamation are as follows:
A statement about a person??™s reputation, honesty, or integrity that is untrue
A statement that is directed to a particular person
In some cases, proof of malice
In Alumina case, all the above elements were met. Kelly Bates made a statement that was printed in the Erenwon, a local newspaper. In the article, they reported that Alumina Inc. violated the environmental laws 5 years ago; this violation was for the unlawful discharge of excess hazardous materials that have become the cause of her daughter??™s leukemia. This statement was published at the local newspaper and in her statement she blames Alumina Inc for her daughter??™s leukemia.
According to the EPA investigation, the violation was discovered and corrected 5 years ago;making the statement by Ms. Bates untrue. Because of the publication, Alumina Inc. Has suffered damages to its image and good will. The amount of damages must be determined and a restatement must be made pursuant to Restatement (2d) of torts that reads:
??? ?§578 Liability of Republisher. (with the exception of the rule stated on Section 581), one who repeats or otherwise republishes defamatory matter is subject to liability as if he had originally published it???
??? ?§581 Transmission of Defamatory Published by Third Person.
(1)??¦ one who only delivers or transmits defamatory matter published by a third person is subject to liability if, but only if, he knows or has reason to know of its defamatory character??¦???
Even when the media enjoys with qualified privilege, the inaccurate information that has been published, it must not be published with malice. In this case, because Alumina is a well known nationally recognized company and has a worldwide client base, they can be considered a ???public figure???. As a public figure the company must prove that Ms. Bates made the statement with malice when the newspaper published a story, they knew it to be inaccurate.
Because of its news worthiness, the newspaper should have known that the violation was detected and corrected over 5 years ago. It would have been a matter of public record that Alumina has been working under the Clean Water Act regulations, using the best available technology for pollutant clean up since the EPA inspection. It is also important to highlight that previous to EPA findings and subsequent violation issue, and even after the EPA discovery, there have been no other resident complaint about illnesses connected to the water of the Lake Dira.
First Amendment. The First Amendment of the Constitution reads
The Freedom of Information Act. (FOIA)
Facts in the Alumina case.