Washington Court of Appeals Affirms Broad Reach of Model Toxics Control Act for Recovery of Cleanup Costs


If there were any doubts about the potent weapon for recovery of environmental costs that the Model Toxics Control Act (“MTCA”) has become, those questions should be dispelled by a July 19 decision from Division Two of the Washington Court of Appeals. The court’s ruling upheld a multi-million dollar judgment against the Washington State Department of Transportation (“WSDOT”) arising out of pollution in Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway (“Waterway”). The decision in PacificCorp Environmental Remediation Co. v. WSDOT demonstrates not only how low the bar can be to proving MTCA liability, but also that a potentially liable party’s recalcitrance in the investigation and cleanup process can come back to haunt it in the assessment of damages.

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