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Berg v. Popham

ELR Citation: 35 ELR 20136
Nos. No. 01-35807, (9th Cir., 06/24/2005) ruling on cert. Applied

The court held that a dry cleaner sufficiently alleged a claim for arranger liability under Alaska Statute §46.03.822(a)(4) against a company that sold and installed dry cleaning equipment to the cleaner. Because the case presented an issue of first impression, it was certified to the Alaska Supreme Court, which concluded that an entity may be liable if it manufactures, sells, or installs a useful product that is intended to direct, and directs when used as designed, a hazardous substance into a city sewer system. Here, the company recommended that the dry cleaner use perchloroethylene (PCE) in the equipment as part of the dry cleaning process, designed the layout of the equipment, and installed the dry cleaning equipment and a water and PCE separator system that directed PCE into the city sewer system. However, the cleaner failed to state a claim for contribution, equitable apportionment, and implied immunity under Alaska law, and it lacked standing to appeal a district court order imposing sanctions against their attorney.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 33 ELR 20083.]