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United States v. Argent Corp.

Citation: 14 ELR 20497
No. No. 83-0523 JB, 21 ERC 1356/(D.N.M., 05/04/1984) Ruling on strict liability

The court rules that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) imposes strict, and, where the injury is indivisible, joint and several liability. Strict liability is the standard, the court holds, since that is the standard imposed by § 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, which CERCLA § 101(32) makes the reference point for CERCLA liability. The court also rules that liability is to be joint and several where it would be under traditional tort law principles, but denies plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on this issue since there is a question of fact as to whether the injury in this case is indivisible, a prerequisite of joint and several liability under tort law. Finally, the court rejects defendants' defense that CERCLA violates due process under the principles of Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976).

Counsel for Plaintiff
John C. Martin
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4059

Herbert A. Becker, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 607, Albuquerque NM 87103
(505) 766-3341

Counsel for Defendants
Lyman G. Sandy
Miller, Stratvert, Torgerson & Brandt
P.O. Box 25687, Albuquerque NM 87125
(505) 842-1950