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Colton, City of v. American Promotional Events, Inc.

Citation: 40 ELR 20229
No. No. 09-1864, (C.D. Cal., 08/10/2010)

A district court dismissed all but one of the United States' CERCLA claims against several companies for response costs incurred at a hazardous waste site in Rialto, California. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13(a), the United States should have asserted the claims in a prior 2005 action because the claims arose from the same transaction, the United States filed or was deemed to file responsive pleadings as to the same parties, and they were opposing parties in the prior and current cases. Because it failed to do so, the United States waived its right to bring the claims against the companies in the current action. In addition, CERCLA does not provide an exception to Rule 13. Under the plain terms of CERCLA and Rule 13(a), the United States' complaint and counterclaims must be dismissed. However, the United States' voluntary dismissal of a 2004 action saves its claims as to one of the companies.