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Importance of Judicial Approval of CERCLA Settlements

Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s...more

How Much Deference Do States Get in Entering CERCLA Consent Decrees? Probably A Lot, But Perhaps Not As Much as You Thought

In Cannons Engineering, the First Circuit Court of Appeals famously stated that, when CERCLA consent decrees arrive at the courts of appeal for review, they do so “encased in a double layer of swaddling,” because both the EPA...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Allows Early Contribution Claims Under the Spill Act

Parties sued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) for remediation now have an immediate right to seek contribution from other potentially responsible parties. Following last week’s unanimous ruling...more

Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil

In 2006, Morristown Associates filed a suit against multiple heating companies and the previous owners of a dry cleaning business to seek payment for the costs they incurred redeveloping the property. They cited the source...more

Settling Parties In Government Consent Orders Have CERCLA Claims For Contribution Not Cost Recovery

To the extent there was any remaining uncertainty, the Sixth Circuit has now made crystalline that a party settling some or all of its liability under CERCLA with the United States or a state has a contribution claim under...more

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Apportionment

The U.S. Court of Appeals used the recent case of PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston LLC to decide when it is appropriate to rule in favor of apportionment under CERCLA. In this case, 43 acres of land in...more

Supreme Court Ruling Resolves Conflict on State Statutes of Repose

US Supreme Court rules CERCLA Section 309 does not preempt state statutes of repose. Federal causes of action remain unaffected. Last week, in a 7-2 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger that...more

Do Statutes of Repose Under CERCLA Really Require Supreme Court Review

Even Superfund lawyers are likely to find the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in CTS Corporation v. Waldburger to be of limited interest. Unable to reach an agreement about a federal “toxic tort” cause of action, Congress...more

Leach Oil and Mouren-Laurens Oil Sites Add 1,300 New PRPs to Litigation

The Leach Oil Site and the Mouren-Laurens Oil Site are located adjacent to each other in Compton, California. These sites have been the subject of litigation between the current and former owners and operators for almost 15...more

Louisiana Court of Appeal Rejects Plaintiff's Attempt to Join Claims of Contamination of Separate Parcels with Different Lessees...

The Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Louisiana issued an opinion on December 11, 2013, that may have a profound impact on litigation related to contamination from historic oil and gas exploration and production operations in...more

CERCLA, RCRA, and Vapor Intrusion: Does What Happens in Vegas Really Stay in Vegas?

In Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square LLC, 724 F.3d 1050 (9th Cir. 2013), the defendants argued that contamination that happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas, and therefore the Commerce Clause barred the application of CERCLA. The...more

CERCLA Preempts State-Law Claims Arising Out Of Petroleum Contamination

In what appears to be a first, a federal district court has held that the “Petroleum Exclusion” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) preempts state-law contribution claims...more

Six-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Spill Act Contribution Claim

On August 23, 2013, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that the general six-year statute of limitations for property damage applies to a private claim for contribution under the Spill Compensation and Control Act,...more

Six-Year Statute Of Limitations Applies To Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a stunning decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division held on August 23 that the State’s general six-year statute of limitations for property damage applies to private claims for contribution under the New Jersey Spill...more

Ninth Circuit Opinion Highlights Vapor Intrusion Risks and Challenges Faced by Brownfields Developers and Their Lenders

A recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit illustrates the challenges faced by developers of contaminated properties and their lenders, as well as the extraordinary risks associated with...more

5th Circuit Holds Late Notice Bars Coverage Under Buy-Back Pollution Coverage

In its recent decision in Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. v. SGS Petroleum Service Corp., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12425 (5th Cir. 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, applying Texas law, had occasion...more

When Is An Arranger Not An Arranger? When It Sells Some Good Stuff Along With The Junk

As Superfund lawyers know, the Supreme Court decision in Burlington Northern required proof of an intent to dispose hazardous substances as a prerequisite to imposition of arranger liability. While lower courts have often...more

Which Is Worse? EPA Oversight or Citizen Oversight?

Everyone who represents PRPs in Superfund settlements has his or her own horror stories regarding the scope of EPA’s oversight cost claims. We all know that oversight costs can end up as an appreciable percentage of total...more

Senate Bill 814 Proposes Sweeping and Retroactive Changes to Environmental Claims Handling in Oregon

On March 13, 2013, the Oregon legislature introduced Senate Bill 814 to create sweeping reforms on environmental claims handling regulations and available remedies for insureds facing liability for cleanup of contaminated...more

Appeal Court Confirms That Innocent Party Must Clean Up Pollution

In a decision in Kawartha Lakes (City) v. Ontario (Environment), on May 10, 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal of the City of Kawartha Lakes (the City), which sought to overturn a decision of...more

Abolishment of Limitation Periods for Contaminated Sites in BC Put on Hold

In 2012, the government of B.C. passed legislation that would eliminate any limitation period previously applicable to actions to recover the costs of environmental remediation under the Environmental Management Act, S.B.C....more

Fourth Circuit Restricts “Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser” Defense

On April 4, 2013, the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling in PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston that, among other things, may limit the availability of the “bona fide prospective purchaser” (“BFPP”) defense that Congress...more

Ontario Court Rejects Damage Recovery in Contamination Claim, Adopting a Strict Analysis That May Hinder Future Claims

In Midwest v. Thordarson (Midwest) 2013 ONSC 775, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a property owner’s claim for damages for remediation costs stemming from the alleged migration of contaminants from a...more

In Alabama, Cost of Complying with a PRP letter Now Insured Under CGL Policies

In a recent ruling of interest to any company named as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at a Superfund site, the Alabama Supreme Court has held that a PRP letter constitutes a “suit” under a comprehensive general...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Update: January 2013 - Plaintiffs Bear the Burden of Establishing Causation by Competent Expert...

Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently ended 16 years of toxic tort litigation relating to fugitive hexavalent chromium (C6) exposure involving the City of Willits and...more

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