United States v. O'Malley, No. 12-2771 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
An asbestos survey showed that the Kankakee building contained 2,200 linear feet of asbestos‐containing insulation around pipes. The owner hired Origin Fire Protection, to modify its sprinkler system. O’Malley, who operated Origin, offered to properly remove the pipe insulation for a cash payment ($12,000) and dispose of it in a lawful landfill. O’Malley provided no written contract for the removal work, but provided a written contract for the sprinkler system. O’Malley and Origin were not licensed to remove asbestos. O’Malley hired untrained workers, who stripped dry asbestos insulation off the pipes using a circular saw and other equipment provided by O’Malley. The workers were given paint suits, simple dust masks, and respirators with missing filters. They stopped working after inhaling dust that made them sick. Asbestos insulation was packed into garbage bags and taken to abandoned properties and a store dumpster. The Illinois EPA discovered the dumping; Superfund contractors began cleanup. O’Malley attempted to mislead federal agents. O’Malley was convicted of removing, transporting, and dumping asbestos‐containing insulation. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the government did not prove the appropriate mens rea for Clean Air Act violations. O’Malley argued that the government was required to prove that he knew that the asbestos in the building was a regulated type of asbestos.