Joint and Several Liability Under CERCLA: Did Supreme Court Change the Cost Recovery Process With Burlington Northern Decision?

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In a law review article, Stoel Rives attorney Thomas Braun considers the U.S. Supreme Court Burlington Northern v. United States case and its potential implications for Section 107 cost recovery actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Under CERCLA, parties found liable for cleanup costs of a contaminated site can impose joint and several liability on other liable parties. Several legal commentators anticipated that the Burlington Northern case, decided in 2009, would upset CERCLA's joint and several liability scheme.

Braun concludes that while the Burlington Northern case may result in an increase of defendants using the theory of apportionment to reduce their share of remediation cost, district courts have distinguished the case and continued to find joint and several liability under CERCLA section 107.

Read the article (PDF)

"Appraising the Apportionment Doctrine: Did the Supreme Court Switch the Tracks in Burlington Northern?" was published by the Journal of Animal & Environmental Law, Spring 2013 (Vol. 4, No. 2).

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Thomas J. Braun
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