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Gould Inc. v. A&M Battery & Tire Serv.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 20840
Nos. 3 CV-91-1714, 954 F. Supp. 1020/(M.D. Pa., 01/29/1997) arranger liability of broker

The court holds that a broker of used batteries is liable as an arranger under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for cleanup costs incurred at a battery breaking facility. The court first notes that in a prior opinion it held that a party that sells junk batteries to a battery breaking company faces arranger liability under CERCLA. While the facts show that the broker did not own any of the batteries it brokered for numerous scrap dealers, they do show that it had agreements or arrangements with these dealers to dispose of the spent batteries. In addition, the broker made the initial contact with the disposal site and received a profit margin from its dealings with the site. Even though the batteries were picked up from the scrap dealers' place of business by trucks from the battery breaking facility, the facility operator would not have been there had the broker not made the initial contact. The court rejects the broker's argument that because it did not own or possess the spent batteries it brokered for other scrap dealers, it is not liable as an arranger. The court also rejects the broker's argument that because it did not have the authority and control over the selection of the disposal site it cannot be liable. The broker decided to contact this battery breaking facility and not another site for the scrap dealers. Finally, because the broker faces liability as a broker for the batteries it delivered to the site, the court rejects the broker's argument that its liability should be reduced by approximately 95 percent to the percentage of its own batteries it brought to the site.

[Other opinions in this litigation are published at 26 ELR 20516 and 21614, and 27 ELR 20774 and 20838.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Dennis Suplee, John Armstrong
Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis
1600 Market St., Ste. 3600, Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 751-2000

Counsel for Defendants
Michael Flannelly
Morgan & Flannelly
18 S. George St., Ste. 201, York PA 17401
(717) 854-2822