In Brief

Vol. 43 No. 2

Theodore L. Garrett is a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. He is a former chair of the Section and is a contributing editor of Trends.



The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a dry cleaning store operator’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) suit against the manufacturer of a machine for filtering and recycling water contaminated with perchloroethylene used in dry cleaning. Team Enterprises, LLC v. Western Investment Real Estate Trust, 2011 WL 3075759 (9th Cir. July 26, 2011). The court held that the manufacturer lacked requisite intent to qualify as “arranger” and did not exercise control over operator’s disposal process for purposes of arranger liability. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that intent could be inferred from its failure to warn of the risks of disposal, stating: “we are not convinced that sellers of useful products must instruct buyers on proper disposal techniques in order to avoid CERCLA liability.”

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