By Ben Wolowski, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
The Seventh Circuit recently affirmed a district court decision finding that too much time had passed for the owner of a lead smelting site to seek cost recovery from a former owner under Superfund. The decision was handed down on August 22, 2019, in Refined Metals Corp. v. NL Industries, Inc., No. 18–3235 (7th Circuit Aug. 22, 2019).
Refined Metal Corp., the current owner of a contaminated site in Beech Grove, Indiana, filed suit in 2017. However, the site’s former owner, NL Industries, Inc., entered into settlements over the site with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in 1998 and received covenants not to sue from both agencies. The three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit concluded that Refined Metals Corp. waited too long to seek a contribution for clean-up costs from under section 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a).
The court's full opinion is available here.
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