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Appleton Papers Inc. v. George A. Whiting Paper Co.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20231
Nos. No. 08-C-16, (E.D. Wis., 08/20/2008)

A district court dismissed companies' Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) §107 claims against other potentially responsible parties (PRP) for the costs of cleaning up polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the Lower Fox River, holding that they must instead seek contribution under CERCLA §113. The companies alleged that they paid more than their proportionate share of liability and thus are entitled to recover the excess they paid from those PRPs who have failed to pay their proportionate share. This is a claim for contribution specifically authorized under CERCLA §113(f). Since any excess payments made by the companies are recoverable, if at all, under that section, they have no need to resort to §107(a). The court also dismissed the companies' claims for natural resource damages under CERCLA §107(a). The companies failed to cite any authority suggesting that private parties can use §107(a) to recover for natural resources damages, regardless of whether a §113(f) contribution claim is available.