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Showing 10 posts in Removal.

In a toxic tort class action involving a chemical spill that may have affected thousands of individuals in an immediate geographic area, the Eighth Circuit held that class action plaintiffs’ expert report definitively alleging damages greater than $5 million triggered defendant’s 30-day removal period under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), but held that an earlier letter from plaintiffs’ counsel “recommending” a settlement over $5 million did not.  Gibson v. Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., No. 16-8012, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19073 (8th Cir. Oct. 24, 2016).  CAFA was enacted in 2005 and expanded federal diversity jurisdiction to include a greater number of class actions and other multi-plaintiff actions.  Among other things, CAFA provides that where a putative class includes greater than 100 members seeking greater than $5 million, the defendant may remove the action, regardless of traditional diversity requirements. Read More »

In the recent decision of United States of America v. Boston and Maine Corporation, C.A. No. 13-10087-IT (D. Mass. Sept. 22, 2016), a Massachusetts federal judge ruled that issuance of a ROD was the completion date of a removal action for statute of limitations purposes even though the actual remedial activities had been completed nearly 13 years earlier.  In reaching this conclusion, the Court also examined the often vexing distinction between removal and remedial activities and the question of what constitutes a “facility” under CERCLA. Given the posture of the case, the decision may also serve to underscore the deference courts often afford to the federal government when it, rather than a private party, is seeking to recover costs.    Read More »

In a case of first impression in the Third Circuit, the Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno has held that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) may not, under CERCLA, recover costs from current landowners if the costs were incurred prior to the owner's purchase of contaminated property.  In PADEP v. Trainer Custom Chemical LLC, No. 15-1232 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 30, 2016), PADEP sought to recover, among other things, over $800,000 in electricity bills which it had paid prior to October, 2012 to keep certain remediation equipment operating at the Stoney Creek Technologies Superfund Site (the “Site”), which Site was subsequently purchased by the defendant, Trainer Custom Chemical, LLC.  PADEP's claim for such costs was rejected by Judge Robreno, who held that “a new owner is not liable for recovery costs incurred before he took ownership of the facility.”  Id. at *21. Read More »

Back in July of last year, in the case of Hobart Corp. v. Waste Management of Ohio, 758 F.3d 757 (6th Cir. 2014), held that the statute of limitations for a contribution action following the execution of an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (“AOC”) that settles an entity’s liability to the government begins to run as of the effective date of the AOC.  To the extent that anyone might have thought that the Sixth Circuit would reconsider this holding, those hopes have been dashed.  On January 24, 2015, in LWD PRP Group v. Alcan Corp., ___ F.3d ___ (6th Cir. 2015), the Sixth Circuit stood fast, finding that it lacked “power to reverse [Hobart,] reversing the district court’s denial of a motion to dismiss certain counterclaims. Read More »

On August 1, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision in Arizona v. Raytheon Co., No. 12-15691 (9th Cir. Aug. 1, 2014), that may give trial courts some pause before approving future CERCLA settlements.  At issue was whether the trial court failed to adequately scrutinize consent decrees entered into between the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (the “ADEQ”) and twenty-two Potentially Responsible Parties (“PRPs”) allegedly liable under CERCLA for contamination at the Broadway-Patano Landfill Site.  The majority opinion held that the trial court’s deference to the AQED’s judgment that the settlements were fair and reasonable was impermissible, and sent the case back down for a more thorough fairness hearing.   However, the more important aspect of the decision may be that, in dicta, the Court concluded that “[e]ven if EPA had been a party to the proposed consent decrees in this case, the district court would have failed to fulfill its duty to independently scrutinize the parties’ agreements.”  Id. at 21. Read More »

Determining the appropriate Statute of Limitations for claims brought pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 9601, et seq. (“CERCLA”), is often a tricky matter.  Usually, the issue arises in the context of determining whether a claim is properly brought under Section 107(a), 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a), for costs voluntarily incurred, or § 113(f), 42 U.S.C. § 9613(f), for costs incurred pursuant to a court order or approved settlement, as Section 107(a) claims may be subject to a six-year statute of limitations, while claims under Section 113(f) have a three-year limitations period.  However, in State of New York v. Next Millenium Realty, LLC, No. 12-2894-cv (2nd Cir. Oct. 15, 2013), the Second Circuit turned its attention to a different distinction, the one between removal actions and remedial actions, as Section 107(a) claims “must be commenced … for a removal action, within 3 years after completion of the removal action [and] for a remedial action, within 6 years after initiation of physical on-site construction of the remedial action. . . .”  42 U.S.C. Section 9613(g)(2)(B).  In order to find the claims of the State of New York timely, the Court held that a water purification system in use for over 15 years was nevertheless a removal action and not a remedial action because, among other things, the measures were intended to “minimize and mitigate” damage from contamination and not to “permanently eliminate” it.  Id. at 24. Read More »

As footnoted in yesterday’s post, the decision in Trinity Industries, Inc. v. Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., No. 12-2059 (3rd Cir. Aug. 20, 2013), was a twofer.  Yesterday, we wrote about that part of the decision which held that a party who has resolved its liability under state statutes may seek contribution under Section 113(f) of CERCLA.  Today, we look at the second part of the decision, which concerns the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), 42 U.S.C. §6901, et seq.  Read More »

New Jersey’s Spill Act is similar to, but older than, CERCLA and like CERCLA, many of its contours have yet to be defined.  The New Jersey Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in NJDEP v. Dimant (No. 067993 Sept. 26, 2012), attempts to rectify that in two important areas. Read More »

Two months ago I blogged about  DeLalla v. Hanover Ins., No. 10-3933 (3rd Cir. Oct. 12, 2011), a case in which the Third Circuit held that, when it comes to removal, each defendant gets its own thirty-day window to file a Notice of Removal such that a later-served defendant is not foreclosed from seeking removal if the thirty-day window has already closed on the first-served defendant.  As befitting a precedential Third Circuit decision, there was clearly a lot of effort put into the 22 page opinion. Read More »

In a precedential opinion issued on October 12 in the case of DeLalla v. Hanover Ins., No. 10-3933 (3rd Cir. Oct. 12, 2011), the Third Circuit finally picked a side on the question of whether a later-served defendant can remove a case filed in state court more than thirty days after the first defendant was served with the Complaint. But first, some background. Read More »