Superfund Ruling May Increase Landowners' Cleanup Liability

Law360 (May 21, 2020, 5:17 PM EDT) -- In Atlantic Richfield v. Christian, the U.S. Supreme Court held that: (1) The jurisdiction-stripping provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA — also known as the Superfund law — do not bar plaintiffs from bringing state-law tort claims in state courts; and (2) landowners are potentially responsible parties, or PRPs, under CERLCLA when hazardous substances come to be located on their land.

While both revelations are certainly noteworthy, the court's expansive interpretation of landowner PRP liability should have especially far-reaching implications for those whose property has been contaminated by offsite sources.

The Anaconda Copper Smelter in Butte,...

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