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United States v. Union Gas Co.

Citation: 14 ELR 20246
No. No. 83-2456, 575 F. Supp. 949/20 ERC 1049/(E.D. Pa., 11/15/1983) Third-party claims against state dismissed

The court rules that the Eleventh Amendment bars a defendant waste generator from filing a third-party complaint under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) against a state that owned and operated a hazardous waste facility. The court rules that absent state consent or a clear statement by Congress that it intended to abrogate states' immunity, an individual may not sue a state in federal court. In a footnote, the court observes that Pennsylvania has waived some of its sovereign immunity from suits in state ocurts, but this waiver does not extend to suits in federal courts. The court holds that nothing in CERCLA's language or legislative history supports a finding that Congress clearly intended to abrogate states' immunity from liability. The inclusion of states within the class of persons subject to liability under CERCLA § 107 is insufficient evidence of congressional intent to subject states to suits by private litigants.

Counsel for Plaintiff
James G. Sheehan; Edward S. G. Dennis Jr., U.S. Attorney
3310 U.S. Cthse., 601 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19106
(215) 597-2556

Joseph J. C. Donovan
Office of the Regional Counsel
Environmental Protection Agency, Curtis Bldg., 6th & Walnuts St., Philadelphia PA 19106
(215) 597-9821

Counsel for Defendants
David H. Marion, Robert A. Swift
Kohn, Savett, Marion & Graf
1214 IVB Bldg., 1700 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 665-9900

Ralph A. Matergia
Matergia & Dunn
700 Monroe St., Stroudsburg PA 18360
(717) 421-7720