May 20, 2019

CERCLA Heads Back to the U.S. Supreme Court

Darin Smith

In September 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision marking “the latest chapter in a multi-decade dispute.” Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., 905 F.3d 565, 571 (9th Cir. 2018). That dispute involves Teck Metals, Ltd.’s (Teck’s) liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) for discharging several million tons of waste into the Columbia River. Id. The Ninth Circuit’s latest decision upheld personal jurisdiction over Teck, which is a Canadian company, and affirmed Teck’s liability for more than $8.25 million in CERCLA response costs. Id. On March 4, 2019, Teck filed with the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) its petition for a writ of certiorari, largely asking the high court—again—to define the boundaries of CERCLA’s extraterritorial reach. Eleven years after Teck’s first petition for certiorari on this issue, will SCOTUS now weigh in?

Premium Content For:
  • Current ABA Member
Join - Now