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Concrete Sales & Servs., Inc. v. Blue Bird Body Co.

Citation: 30 ELR 20577
No. No. 99-8241, 211 F.3d 1333/50 ERC 1577/(11th Cir., 05/15/2000)

The court holds that two customers of an electroplating company did not "arrange for" the disposal of the company's hazardous waste under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) §107(a), and, therefore, the company could not seek contribution from the customers for cleanup costs at a contaminated property. The court first holds that no reasonable factfinder could find that the first customer arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances within the meaning of CERCLA §107(a)(3). The company failed to establish that the first customer took any action or had any intent to dispose of hazardous substances. While the first customer did loan or advance money to the company on one occasion, no evidence supports a finding that the first customer gave this money for the company to use for any specified purpose, such as the purchase of hazardous substances or the disposal of hazardous waste. Furthermore, while the president of the first customer understood that hazardous waste would be generated by the company's electroplating of the first customer's parts, the company failed to show that the first customer knew of or had the power to control the company's disposal practices.

The court next holds that the evidence presented did not create a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the second customer used the company to otherwise arrange for the disposal of the company's hazardous waste. The company did not produce sufficient evidence to permit a jury to infer that the second customer intended to dispose of hazardous substances through the company. The majority of the second customers's interactions with the company involved a simple contract for a useful service, the addition of electroplated finishes to the second customer's parts. Admittedly, the second customer also provided the company financial assistance that facilitated the company's purchase of hazardous substances. This facilitation, however, did not show that the company owned, possessed, or even had the ability to control the hazardous substances.

Counsel for Appellants
L. Robert Lovett
Law Offices of L. Robert Lovett
2904 Vineville Ave., Macon GA 31202
(912) 750-0200

Counsel for Appellees
Daniel S. Reinhardt
Troutman & Sanders
5200 Nations Bank Plaza
600 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta GA 30308
(404) 885-3000

Before Cox, Birch, and Barkett, JJ.