Superfund Attorneys — RCRA and CERCLA Litigation
Popularly known as the Superfund statute, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) provides a system for cleaning up contaminated properties throughout the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at least in theory responsible for the recovery of hazardous and contaminated land and is authorized to recoup the cleanup costs from the parties actually responsible for pollution and toxic waste disposal.
In practice, there has been for some years little or no public funding available for CERCLA site remediation, so the EPA tries to compel cleanup from the parties responsible for the pollution or contamination. Because any party found responsible will be jointly and severally liable for the entire cost of the cleanup project, the problem for any potentially responsible party is to make sure that its ultimate liability does not exceed its actual role in causing the problem.
Contact Caufield & James For Advice About CERCLA Litigation
Anyone in the chain of title on an identified Superfund property is likely to end up as a potentially responsible party in CERCLA litigation. If you or your business has been named as a potentially responsible party by the EPA, or if you have been named as a defendant by another potentially responsible party seeking contribution or indemnification for its own CERCLA liability, you can benefit from our experience with the resolution of Superfund disputes.
Our goal in CERCLA litigation is to keep your liability to a minimum and to get you out of the case as quickly as possible. As potentially responsible parties seek to prove one another’s liability for ongoing contamination or a single disastrous release, CERCLA litigation can go on for years or even decades. For example, the CERCLA lawsuit related to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was just heard in the U.S. Supreme Court in February 2008.
To limit your risks and litigation expenses in CERCLA litigation, we move quickly to establish one or more of three important propositions whenever possible: 1) that you have no responsibility for the contamination, 2) that insurance coverage is available for your defense costs and potential liability, and 3) that a solvent third party owes you a duty of indemnification or contribution for any responsibility that might be established against you.
We Also Represent Clients Involved In RCRA Lawsuits
The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) raises issues closely related to those characteristic of CERCLA litigation, but focuses more narrowly on the responsibility of parties who generated, transported or stored hazardous materials and waste, including substances that have moved through groundwater aquifers or topsoil erosion. There are many points of overlap between CERCLA and RCRA, but an important difference from a client’s point of view is the absence of a federal funding source to support removal or remediation measures.