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Ameripride Servs., Inc. v. Valley Indus. Serv., Inc.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20058
Nos. No. S-00-113, (E.D. Cal., 02/28/2007)

A district court held that a company that owned a laundry facility for less than 24 hours before selling it to another entity is not liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for PCE (or perchloroethylene) contamination on the property. The company was not an "owner" within the meaning of CERCLA and, therefore, cannot be liable as a potentially responsible party. At most, the evidence reveals that the company may have been contemplating staffing and organization of the facility the day it took control, but the evidence does not show that the company was, in fact, ever in control of the property. Even if the company were considered an owner under CERCLA, there is no evidence that it owned the property "at the time of disposal of any hazardous substance." In addition, a plain reading of the contract between the company and the current owner supports a finding that the company is not obligated to indemnify the current owner for environmental liability.