Chicago door-and-window business challenges abusive prosecution by EPA
November 17, 2023
Chicago; November 17, 2023: Yesterday evening, Door & Window Superstore filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency seeking a fair trial in federal court.
Ro Cher Enterprises, Inc., founded and owned by Roger and Cheryl Janakus, runs Door & Window Superstore in the Chicago area. For 40 years, the company has sold doors and windows to thousands of happy customers. But in April 2023, the EPA charged Ro Cher with violating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and sought a $375,000 fine. All because the EPA misunderstands Ro Cher’s business—which is exclusively sales of doors and windows.
TSCA does impose certain requirements on companies that renovate older (pre-1978) housing to protect against exposure to lead paint. Renovation companies must have an EPA certificate and they must provide EPA lead-hazard pamphlets to homeowners of older houses. The EPA claims Ro Cher violated these TSCA provisions.
But Ro Cher is not in the renovation business. Rather, Ro Cher sells doors and windows and helps its customers find renovation experts. And these renovation experts do not work for Ro Cher. Nonetheless, the EPA seeks to hold Ro Cher liable.
Worse, the EPA brought its case before an in-house tribunal within its own walls and under its own rules, overseen not by a federal judge but by an employee of the EPA itself. The prosecutor and judge work for the agency, which prevents Ro Cher from getting a fair hearing.
Yesterday, therefore, Ro Cher filed suit in federal court to stop the EPA from proceeding in-house.
“If the EPA wants to impose exorbitant penalties for violations of federal law, it should have to make its case to a real court with a real judge, a jury, and due process protections for individuals and businesses,” said Oliver Dunford, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation.
The case is Ro Cher Enterprises, Inc. v. EPA, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.