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Showing 90 posts in Superfund.

In Emhart Industries, Inc. v. New England Container Company, Inc., et al., No. 06-218 WES, 2022 WL 15437874 (D.R.I. Oct. 27, 2022), a federal court addressed the parameters for arranger liability under CERCLA where Defendants sent drums with residual hazardous substances for reconditioning.  The Court denied summary judgment for Defendants, finding liability depends on Defendant’s intent to dispose, which is a fact intensive analysis dependent “foremost on intentional steps Defendants took toward the goal of disposal, but also asks whether the product was useful, if Defendants knew of the hazardousness, and the state of the hazardous substances at the time of the transaction.” Read More »

In Citizens Development Corporation, Inc. v. County of San Diego, et al., No. 12-CV-334-GPC-KSC, 2022 WL 4374957 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 21, 2022), the Honorable Gonzalo P. Curiel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted three Motions for Good Faith Settlement Determination in an action under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) related to alleged contamination of surface water and groundwater in and around Lake San Marcos and San Marcos Creek located in San Marcos, California.  One day later, in Maxim I Properties v. A.M. Bud Krohn, et al., No. 12-cv-00449-DMR, 2022 WL 4390433 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 22, 2022), the Honorable Donna M. Ryu of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order denying a Motion for Good Faith Settlement filed by Maxim I Properties (“Maxim”) and defendant Moyer Products (“Moyer”) in a matter concerning contamination at a property in San Jose, California.  As such settlements can provide contribution protection to parties potentially liable for clean up, these two cases provide good insight into the factors courts will consider in determining whether to approve them.      Read More »

In Rio Linda Elverta Cmty. Water Dist. v. United States, No. 2:17-CV-01349, 2022 WL 3567143 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 18, 2022), the Honorable Kimberly J. Mueller, Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, dismissed  two California water utilities’ federal and state law claims against the federal government and several private sector defendants relating to hexavalent chromium (“Cr6”) pollution at the former McClellan Air Force Base (“Base”) near Sacramento, California.  The water utilities allege that during active operations of the Base, the federal government used products containing Cr6, which contaminated the groundwater aquifer from which the water utilities derive municipal drinking water, making it unsafe for human consumption.  Much of the case turned on the interplay between CERCLA sections 104 and 113(h) in the context of a clean up of a federal facility. Read More »

On August 19, 2022, a magistrate judge of the Colorado District Court held that contribution-defendants cannot assert their own contribution claims under section 113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) because they are only liable for their fair share of response costs.  Atlantic Richfield Co. v. NL Indus., Inc., No. 20-cv-00234-NYW-KLM, 2022 WL 3577261, at *6 (D. Colo. Aug. 19, 2022). The magistrate judge’s analysis resolved questions for potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) seeking to assert contribution claims against other PRPs based on a claim of inequitable distribution of common liability in a 113(f) action. Id. at *4. Read More »

Stanford University can proceed with its lawsuit against HP Inc. and Agilent Technologies, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on September 19, 2022, holding that because certain soil contamination was a “continuous” or abatable nuisance or trespass, Stanford’s nuisance and trespass claims were not time barred and could continue.  Accordingly, the court denied HP and Agilent’s motion for summary judgment on Stanford’s nuisance and trespass claims. Bd. of Trs. of the Leland Stanford Junior Univ. v. Agilent Techs., Inc., No. 18-cv-01199 (N.D. Ca. Sept. 19, 2022). Read More »

Before neighboring property owners can intervene to challenge a consent decree in a remediation action, they must establish Article III standing. On August 5, 2022, The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the ruling of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and held that neighboring property owners of a chemical plant undergoing environmental remediation lacked constitutional standing to intervene to oppose an amended consent decree and remedial action plan. United States v. Reilly Tar & Chem. Corp., Slip Op. No. 20-2786 (8th Cir. Aug. 5, 2022). The court reasoned that the entry of the amended consent decree was not a causal link of the proposed intervenors’ harm because it did not require the chemical plant to clean-up chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) and perchloroethylene (PCE) and therefore did not alter the chemical plant’s preexisting duties regarding PCE. Id. Read More »

This post was authored by summer associate Kelly Hanna.

In Daikin Applied Americas, Inc. v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) by holding that a groundwater plume can be listed as a Superfund Site on the National Priorities List (“NPL”) pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq., even if the sources of contamination are not clearly identified. No. 20-1479, 2022 WL 2565083 (D.C. Cir. July 8, 2022). The Court also held that substantial evidence exists to support aquifer interconnectivity so long as observed releases occur at each aquifer. Thus, EPA’s decision to list a “groundwater plume with no identified source” that spanned multiple aquifers in an area southwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota on the NPL survived both arbitrary and capricious and substantial evidence challenges. Read More »

On May 18, 2022 in York et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp. Guidance and Electronics Co. Inc. et al., No. 21-cv-03251 (W.D. Mo.), a Missouri federal court dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint alleging negligence, nuisance and trespass from alleged groundwater contamination, finding the claims were preempted by an existing consent decree. Read More »

In Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP v. NCR Corporation, the Sixth Circuit confronted a novel question concerning CERCLA’s statutes of limitations: whether a bare declaratory judgment on liability triggers the Section 113(g)(3) three-year limitations period for a contribution claim brought under Section 113(f)(1). The first circuit court to address this issue, the Court answered in the affirmative. Read More »

There are surprisingly few cases addressing whether, for an entity to be liable as an arranger under CERCLA, it must have known that the disposed substance was dangerous or hazardous. On March 10, 2022, in City of Las Cruces and Dona Ana County v. The Lofts at Alameda, LLC, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico became the third federal district court to answer this question directly.

Two local government entities sued American Linen for cost recovery and contribution, alleging its decades-long operation of dry cleaning facilities caused them to incur costs to remediate a plume of contaminated groundwater. Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that American Linen instructed its employees to dispose of PCE-laden wastes off site and that it contracted with a truck hauler to transport these wastes to a dump site three miles away. American Linen moved to dismiss, arguing principally that at the time of disposal, it did not know the wastes were hazardous substances. Read More »