Time-Barred Claim . . . Or Is It? Supreme Court Agrees To Review Fourth Circuit State Statute of Repose Case

As reported on the Ogletree Deakins Environmental Law blog in July of 2013, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA or Superfund) , 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq., preempts state statutes of repose. In a 2-to-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit, in Waldburger v. CTS Corp., held that CERCLA preempts both state statutes of limitations and state statutes of repose in environmental contamination cases.

On January 10, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States granted CTS Corporation’s petition for writ of certiorari to review the Fourth Circuit decision. The issue the Court will consider is whether the Fourth Circuit correctly interpreted the preemption provision of CERCLA to apply to state statutes of repose in addition to state statutes of limitations. The case is scheduled for oral argument on April 23, and a decision is expected by June 2014.