Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Pacific Sound Resources v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20197
Nos. Nos. 06-35455, 07-35295, (9th Cir., 07/11/2008)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision dismissing a nonprofit corporation's action against a railroad company for contribution under Washington's Model Toxics Control Act. The lower court held that the corporation lacked standing because it was obligated to pay any money it recovered to a third-party trust being used to fund cleanup activities at the site. The court concluded that this obligation meant that the corporation's injury was not redressable. An intervening decision of the U.S. Supreme Court undermines this ruling. In Sprint Communications Co. v. APCC Services, Inc., No. 07-552 (U.S. June 23, 2008), the Court held that a plaintiff's obligation to turn the proceeds of its litigation over to a third party does not deprive that plaintiff of Article III standing that it otherwise enjoys. Here, the corporation has suffered a direct injury in cleanup expenses which would be remedied by an award of contribution from the railroad company. That remedy is not undone by the corporation's obligation to turn the funds it recovers over to the trust.