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In re Eagle-Picher Indus., Inc.

Citation: 29 ELR 21356
No. No. 98-8082, 235 B.R. 876/(B.A.P. 6th Cir., 07/20/1999) vacated & remanded

The court vacates a bankruptcy court's order disallowing a current property owner's claim for contribution against a bankrupt prior owner of contaminated property. During pendency of an appeal concerning whether the current owner's claim should be disallowed because of co-liability to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA and the prior owner entered a settlement agreement establishing the prior owner's liability for the environmental contamination. Because the settlement agreement constituted a claim by EPA against the prior owner entered after the bankruptcy claims bar, the court of appeals ordered the bankruptcy court to determine the continued viability of EPA's claim using the factors delineated in Pioneer Investment Services v. Brunswick Associates Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380 (1993), and Dix v. Johnson, 95 B.R. 134 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 1988).

The court first holds that the bankruptcy court erred in disallowing the current owner's claim without conducting the mandated Pioneer/Dix analysis. Without conducting a Pioneer/Dix analysis, the bankruptcy court concluded that the settlement agreement superseded the bankruptcy bar date and that EPA had a viable claim against the past owner on which the current owner is co-liable. Therefore, the court remanded the case with instructions to conduct the mandated analysis.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 28 ELR 20492.]

Counsel for Appellant
Thomas W. Coffey
Cors & Bassett
1200 Carew Tower, Cincinnati OH 45202
(513) 852-8200

Counsel for Appellee
Debra A. Dandeneau
Weil, Gotshal & Manges
701 Brickell Ave., Ste. 2100, Miami FL 33131
(305) 577-3100

Before Morgenstern-Clarren, Rhodes, and Stosberg, JJ.