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In re In re Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pac. R.R.

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 20700
Nos. Nos. 95-1412, -2986, 78 F.3d 285/42 ERC 1097/(7th Cir., 02/28/1996) postpetition claim under subsequently enacted state law allowed

The court holds that a contribution claim under the 1989 Washington state Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) against a railroad reorganized in bankruptcy is not subject to a 1985 claims bar date. The claim arose out of an environmental cleanup of a railyard located within the Commencement Bay/Nearshore Tideflats Superfund site in Tacoma, Washington. Under a bankruptcy reorganization, claims against the railroad and its successors and assigns are barred if not filed before December 26, 1985. The MTCA became effective in 1989. The court holds that the claims of a subsequent owner of the railyard against the railroad's successors under the MTCA are not barred by the 1985 claims bar date. The subsequent owner did not have a contingent claim in 1985 based on any of the three existing state environmental statutes. The state statutes did not provide the comprehensive liability or remedy found in the MTCA, so it would not be possible to parry a claim based on those then-existing statutes into something approaching the claim arising from the MTCA. The court also upholds the district court's denial of the successor's Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 60 motion in which it claimed that new evidence required relief from the judgment. The lower court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the evidence presented was not new or, to the extent that it was new, was not material and would not have changed the underlying decision.

[Prior decisions in this litigation are published at 23 ELR 20009 and 21352.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert Wheeler
Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly
Two Prudential Plaza
180 N. Stetson Ave., 45th Fl., Chicago IL 60601
(312) 616-5867

Counsel for Defendant
Raymond H. Groble III
Groble & Groble
33 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 750-8692

Before ROVNER, DIANE P. WOOD, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.