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Utah Restaurant Company Sentenced for Clean Air Act Violation

Release Date: 10/26/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Dave Ryan, 202-564-4355 /

(10/26/05) On Oct. 12, Wilshire Restaurant Group, Inc., owner of Marie Callender's Pie Shops, Inc., was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah for negligently releasing asbestos while replacing the roof of the Marie Callender's restaurant in Midvale, Utah. The defendant will pay a $50,000 fine. The defendant was also ordered to conduct an asbestos survey of its Utah stores, develop an asbestos management plan for the stores and properly train its executives. In addition, the company will voluntarily contribute $50,000 to the Western States Project for use in providing environmental enforcement and investigation training to state and local government personnel in Utah. In January or February 1999, the defendant's employees at the restaurant noticed the roof was leaking and made temporary repairs. In May 1999, Marie Callender's received several bids to repair the roof. However, the firm that won the contract was not informed by Marie Callender's employees that costs for properly removing asbestos-containing materials were part of the other bids. As a result, the asbestos underlayment was removed without following federal workplace standards, and asbestos fibers were released into the air. Releasing asbestos into the air and not following federal workplace standards can lead to the inhalation of asbestos fibers which is a cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Salt Lake City Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Utah with legal assistance from EPA Region 8.