Update: Hubert Vidrine prosecution

In 2011 we wrote about the remarkable case in which Opelousas, La. plant manager Hubert Vidrine “won a rare $1.7 million verdict against the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for malicious prosecution, with a judge lambasting EPA’s enforcement apparatus for ‘reckless and callous disregard’ of Vidrine’s rights.” According to a local paper’s report, a federal officer “was accused of targeting Vidrine because of his outspokenness and choosing an investigation in Louisiana to be close to a woman with whom he was having a sexual affair.” Defenders of the agency were at pains to portray it as an “unusual situation.”

Now there’s an update to report [FindLaw, h/t Institute for Justice “Short Circuits”]. The factory’s owner, Trinity Marine Products, had also been prosecuted in the case, but was not involved in Vidrine’s personal quest for justice afterward:

According to court documents, Trinity wasn’t even aware of the federal agents’ affair and its concealment until 2011 when one of Trinity’s employees read a blog post mentioning the affair and a DOJ press release giving details. Trinity promptly filed a FTCA claim in 2012.

The question was whether the company’s claim was untimely under the statute of limitations because the prosecution had been nine years earlier. A Fifth Circuit panel has now ruled that the suit can go forward under equitable principles because the government had not established that Trinity could by reasonable diligence have learned the reason for its injury earlier. FindLaw again:

The fact of the matter is this: the blog piece was only written because there was an unsealing of court documents that had detailed the motive behind the FBI agents’ lies. And since these lies were the cause of Trinity’s eventual injury (criminal indictment), no reasonable due diligence would have uncovered them.


  • Hmmm. The Agent was prosecuted for lying about sex. I thought that was ok in America.

  • Hmmm. The Agent was prosecuted for lying about sex. I thought that was ok in America.

    It isn’t the sex. It was the hiding of facts relevant to the case. .Didn’t we just recently impeach a sitting President for a similar circumstance? Not that it seems to matter much. All most people see is the word “sex”. Past that, nothing apparently matters.

    • “Didn’t we just recently impeach a sitting President for a similar circumstance?”

      No, we did not. The House issued a bill of impeachment, but the Senate rejected it.

      • No, we did not.

        I disagree.

        An argument can be made that once impeachment proceedings have started, the proceedings themselves are called “impeachment.”

        However, that not withstanding, the Constitution says “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

        Once the House voted to impeach Clinton, he was “impeached.” The Senates vote has no bearing on whether Clinton was impeached. Once again, referring to the Constitution: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

        It is difficult to say that Clinton was not impeached as if he was not, the Senate had no right to vote or conduct a trial as they did.