Tom Foley vs. JCI
The litigation started when Foley sued Johnson Controls, seeking to take over enforcement of its consent agreement with the EPA. The company counter-sued, arguing that his removal of the slab jeopardized their containment effort. Foley lost his case--largely, the court stated, because the obligations imposed by the consent agreement were "unclear (i.e., ambiguous)," and because the expert hired by Johnson Controls was more persuasive and experienced than the expert hired by Foley. In the counter-suit, the court concluded that JCI had "not met its burden of establishing that a 'release' or 'threat of release' of contaminants will cause JCI to incur future response costs"--though it did hold Foley responsible for $1,200 for additional monitoring.
Foley argues that the whole issue of the slab is a "red herring," since the tests found no release of contaminants. He's appealing the decision and argues that the company has both a legal and a moral obligation to clean the site: "I didn't put that crap there," he says. "If I had done the damage, the judge would have hammered me for it."
Foley has kept the Banks of Saline website online, featuring river-themed floor plans that include the "Huron," "Manistee," and "Au Sable." But between the litigation and the real estate bust, nothing has moved forward since 2008.