Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Medley

Citation: 17 ELR 20299
No. No. 7:86-252-3, 24 ERC 1856/(D.S.C., 07/01/1986) Summary judgment on contribution denied

On a motion for summary judgment between third party defendants to the government's Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) § 107 action for reimbursement of response costs incurred in connection with the cleanup of the Medley Farm site in South Carolina, the court holds that CERCLA provides for a right of contribution among joint tortfeasors. The court first holds that CERCLA § 107(e)(2) implicitly provides for a right to contribution among parties that are jointly and severally liable, and that when viewed in its contemporary legal context, a right to contribution is a necessary adjunct to a broad-based, no-fault liability scheme. The federal common law of liability under § 107, the court notes, provides for joint and several liability and that this includes a right for defendants to bring contribution actions. The court holds that CERCLA itself does not express the scope and manner of providing contribution, however, but that this remedy is for the courts to determine. The court accordingly reserves this question for resolution at trial as a mixed question of law and fact.

[Related opinions appear at 17 ELR 20297 and 20299.]

Counsel are listed at 17 ELR 20297.