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Missouri v. Syntex (U.S.A.), Inc.

Citation: 17 ELR 21013
No. No. 85-2856C(6), (E.D. Mo., 03/20/1987)

The court makes various procedural rulings in an action by the state of Missouri seeking recovery of response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the common law of public nuisance for the improper disposal of hazardous wastes in Times Beach. The court holds that the generator defendant, which forfeited its corporate charter in 1976, has the capacity to be sued under the law of its parent state, Delaware, and that the service made upon it was proper. The court also holds that it has personal jurisdiction over the generator and the transporters since their conduct brings them within the reach of Missouri's long-arm statute. The court rules that the statute of limitations did not begin to run at the time of the alleged disposal of dioxin in Times Beach, but that it is triggered anew by each release of dioxin into the environment. The court rules that the definition of "person" in CERCLA § 107(a)(3) includes corporate officers and employees and holds that plaintiff has stated a claim against the generator defendant's president and vicepresident. The court holds that CERCLA applies retroactively and that the burden of proof of showing that response costs are inconsistent with the National Contingency Plan is on defendants.

Turning to the state law claim, the court holds that under Missouri law, plaintiff is not required to own the land on which a public nuisance is alleged to have occurred. The court also holds that it is appropriate for it to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the state's nuisance claim in the interests of judicial economy. Finally, the court holds that the United States is not an indispensible party to this action.

[Related opinions are published at 15 ELR 20161; 16 ELR 20352, 20361, 20368; and 17 ELR 20241, 20958.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
David A. Taylor, Ass't Attorney General
P.O. Box 899, Jefferson City MO 65102
(314) 751-8806

Counsel for Defendant
John J. Cole
Armstrong, Teasdale, Kramer & Vaughan
611 Olive St., Suite 1900, St. Louis MO 63101
(314) 621-5070