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Metropolitan Water Reclamation Dist. v. North Am. Galvanizing & Coatings, Inc.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20010
Nos. No. 05-3299, (7th Cir., 01/17/2007) Aff'd

The court held that a water district that voluntarily incurred costs cleaning up hazardous materials from its property in Chicago, Illinois, may seek recovery costs from a lessee under §107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Because the water district was not the subject of a prior CERCLA action for damages or noncompliance, it could not seek contribution from the lessee under CERCLA §113(f) pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Cooper Industries, Inc. v. Aviall Services, Inc., 543 U.S. 157, 34 ELR 20154 (2004). But because the water district, as a "firm" or "corporation," is a "person" that has incurred "necessary costs of response," the court reasoned that it could bring suit under §107(a) to recover those costs and further the policies of the Act. The U.S. courts of appeals have split on this issue.

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 35 ELR 20084.]