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Stimson Lumber Co. v. International Paper Co.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20165
Nos. No. 10-79, (D. Mont., 04/22/2011)

A district court held that a lumber company's CERCLA action against the former owner of the company's sawmill and plywood manufacturing plant for reimbursement of past and future cleanup costs associated with the site is not barred by contract. When the lumber company purchased the plant in 1993, the parties entered into a sales agreement that transferred the prior owner's environmental liability to the lumber company following the expiration of a 10-year indemnity period. Since the 10-year period has passed, the former owner argued that the company's CERCLA claim was barred by contract. The agreement, however, failed to include any express language stating that the lumber company would assume the former owner's environmental liabilities once the former owner's indemnity obligations expired. The former owner's motion for summary judgment to dismiss the claim was therefore denied.