B&D Principal David Weber Quoted by Inside EPA on Guam v. United States Superfund Case
In a January 15 Inside EPA article covering the Supreme Court's recent decision to review a key Superfund case, Guam v. United States, David Weber (Office Managing Principal, Seattle) offers insights about the significance of this case. As it did in its 2020 decision in Atlantic Richfield Company v. Gregory Christian, et al., Dave said the Supreme Court "will once again wade into the scope and meaning of CERCLA." In doing so, the Court "is faced with addressing conflicting circuit decisions regarding what it means for a settling party to have ‘resolved’ its CERCLA liability with the government, and specifically the extent to which a non-CERCLA settlement agreement may give rise to a contribution action under Section 113 of CERCLA."
Dave went on to discuss the potential implications of the case, particularly for parties who previously settled CERCLA claims with the U.S. government. The Court's clarification of when a prior settlement “is considered to have resolved liability under CERCLA" could result in an increase in Section 113 contribution claims. “At the same time such a decision could strand some parties with older settlements if the Court finds that CERCLA contribution claims arising from those older non-CERCLA settlements are barred by the three-year statute of limitations that applies to actions brought under Section 113," Dave said.
For further background and analysis on Guam v. United States, see Beveridge & Diamond's news alert, "Supreme Court to Decide Superfund Case with Significant Implications Regarding the Timing of CERCLA Contribution Claims."