CERCLA/Superfund

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of CERCLA Contribution Claims by Settling Parties

On May 24, 2021, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Territory of Guam v. United States that a party’s claim for contribution under Section 113(f)(3)(B) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), 42 U.S.C. § 9613(f)(3)(B), and therefore the commencement of the limitations period for such a claim, requires resolution specifically of…

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CERCLA Claims and Statute of Limitation Issues: An Analysis

The remediation of decades-old hazardous waste sites has increasingly prompted defendants in CERCLA cases to assert the statute of limitations as a defense, revealing two inflection points that the CERCLA practitioner must navigate.  The first is whether a party has asserted a cost-recovery claim under CERCLA Section 107(a) or a contribution claim under Section 113(f). …

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Environmental Issues in Bankruptcy Sales

The economic distress ensuing from COVID-19 will likely result in more frequent sales of business assets and real estate under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 363 sales provide an expedited process to raise revenue and are designed to enable an asset purchaser to take assets “free and clear of any interest.” However, the…

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EPA Issues Interim COVID-19 Guidance on Site Field Work Decisions

On April 10, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a memorandum providing interim guidance on site field work decisions due to the impacts of COVID-19 (Field  Guidance). The Field Guidance is applicable to cleanup and emergency responses  where EPA is the lead agency, or has direct oversight of or responsibility for the work being…

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Wartime Regulation Does Not Render Government an Operator Under CERCLA, Third Circuit Rules

On May 4, 2020, the Third Circuit issued a decision in PPG Industries v. United States, a case which considered whether the government’s involvement at a chromium processing plant during World War II made it an “operator” liable for cleanup costs under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”).  The…

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U.S. Supreme Court’s Latest CERCLA Decision Could Mean a Tangle for Future Litigation

On April 20th, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) does not prevent state courts from hearing state law claims by landowners seeking property damages and additional environmental remediation at federal Superfund sites beyond an EPA-approved remedy. Complicating this…

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