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Carpenter Technology Corp. v. Bridgeport, City of

Citation: 29 ELR 21240
No. No. 99-7284, 180 F.3d 93/48 ERC 1987/(2d Cir., 06/16/1999)

The court holds that a district court abused its discretion in denying a landowner's motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the taking of its property by a local port authority. The district court denied the landowner's motion for a preliminary injunction because it failed to show a threat of irreparable injury absent injunctive relief. The court first holds that the landowner has shown a threat of irreparable injury because real property is at issue and because the landowner cannot raise its claim for injunctive relief to prevent the taking of its property in the condemnation valuation proceeding. The court, however, notes that it cannot determine whether the other requirements for the issuance of a preliminary injunction have been met and, therefore, remands the determination to the district court. The court next holds that the district court erroneously dismissed as unripe the landowner's claim for permanent injunctive relief. The question of whether the port authority is legally entitled to take the property is now ripe because the port authority has already initiated the condemnation process. The court then vacates the district court's dismissal of the landowner's alternative claim for a declaratory judgment that the port authority or any future owner should be liable for future environmental remediation costs at the property. In dismissing this claim as unripe, the district court misconstrued the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) because under CERCLA a private party may bring a cost recovery action or seek declaratory judgment in the absence of a governmental enforcement action. The court, therefore, declines to rule on ripeness and remands the issue for the district court's reconsideration.

Counsel for Plaintiff
David M. Howard
Dechert, Price & Rhoads
4000 Bell Atlantic Tower
1717 Arch St., Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 994-4000

Counsel for Defendants
Raymond Rizio
Quatrella & Rizio
One Post Rd.
P.O. Box 320019, Fairfield CT 06432
(203) 335-2222

Before Van Graafeiland and Calabresi, JJ.