Canadyne-Georgia Corp. v. NationsBank, N.A.
Citation: 29 ELR 21468
No. No. 97-9357, 183 F.3d 1269/(11th Cir., 08/11/1999)
The court reverses a district court order that dismissed a property owner's Comprehensive Environmental Response. Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Georgia Hazardous Site Response Act contribution claims against a bank for failure to state a claim. The bank served as a trustee of a trust that owned a chemical company that allegedly contaminated the owner's property. The court first holds that the bank was a covered person for the purpose of CERCLA liability. Even though the bank technically held its partnership interest in the company in trust, under Georgia law, the bank owned a general partnership interest in the company that contaminated the site. Therefore, the bank held legal title to the partnership and is an owner under the meaning of CERCLA §§ 107(a) and 113(f). The court also holds that a dismissal of the contribution claims is not warranted under the Asset Conservation Act's limitation on liability for fiduciaries. The Asset Conservation Act does not limit liability pertaining to a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance if the fiduciary's negligence causes or contributes to the release. Although the owner made no allegations of any particular actions by the bank that caused or contributed to the release of hazardous substances, the court must accept the assertions of negligence in the complaint as true.
Counsel for Plaintiff
Walter H. Bush Jr.
Arnall, Golden & Gregory
201 Second St., Ste. 1000, Macon GA 31201
Counsel for Defendants
Russell W. Thorpe
Law Offices of Russell W. Thorpe
1063 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta GA 30307
Before Edmondson and Restani,* JJ.