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Waco, City of v. Schouten

Citation: 35 ELR 20178
No. No. W-04-CA-118, (W.D. Tex., 03/29/2005)

The court denied motions to dismiss a city's Comprehensive Environmental Compensation, Recovery, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and state-law claims against various dairy owners and operators. Venue over the city's CWA claims was proper for several of the operators, and the court exercised pendant venue over the remaining dairies. As for the merits, the city's CERCLA claims against individual owners and operators were sufficiently pled, and their claim that the city failed to "pierce the corporate veil" is without merit because veil-peircing is not required for individuals to be held directly liable under CERCLA. Further, the type of phosphorous for which the defendants are being accused of releasing is a hazardous substance under CERCLA, and CERCLA's fertilizer application exemption does not apply because the defendants' actions constitute more than the exempted amount. The city also adequately alleged that the defendants may be liable as arrangers under CERCLA, and its negligence and trespass allegations against the defendants were likewise sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.