October 30, 2018

Federal District Court Dismissed CERCLA Claims Finding That RCRA Can Supply Basis for a CERCLA Recovery or Contribution Action, But That Statute of Limitations Begins to Run at the Time of the RCRA Consent Decree, Even If CERCLA Liability Is Not Specifically Addressed in Consent Decree and Even If There is No Admission of Liability in the Consent Decree

Joel L. Herz

On September 25, 2018, the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Judge Sarah Evans Barker) (“district court”) issued an opinion in Refined Metals Corporation v. NL Industries, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-02565-SEB-TAB, dismissing all federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) claims as time barred under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). It found that a 1998 consent decree resolved, at least in part, plaintiff Refined Metals Corporation’s (“Refined Metals”) liability to the United States and the state of Indiana, thereby triggering the three-year statute of limitations period found in CERCLA section 113(g)(3)(B).  The decision has been appealed to the Seventh Circuit by Refined Metals.

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