In Brief

Vol. 45 No. 5

Theodore L. Garrett is a partner of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC. He is a past chair of the Section and is a contributing editor of Trends.

CERCLA

The Third Circuit, in an unpublished opinion, affirmed a lower court decision dismissing as time-barred a state environmental agency’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) lawsuit seeking reimbursement of response costs incurred at a former landfill. Pa. Dep’t Envtl. Prot. v. Beazer East, Inc., No. 13-1209, 2014 WL 23742 (3d Cir. Jan. 2, 2014). The defendants argued that because the state agency finished its “removal” cleanup in January 2004, the 2009 complaint was past the three-year deadline. The agency claimed that its response actions were a permanent remedy constituting a CERCLA “remedial” action, and therefore the six-year statute of limitations applied. The court found that the complaint did not support the conclusion that the response actions were a permanent remedy, noting that the state initially labeled these actions as an “interim” response.

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