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Tyco Thermal Controls LLC v. Redwood Industrials

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20305
Nos. 5:06-cv-07164 JF, (N.D. Cal., 09/15/2011) (Fogel, J.)

A district court held that the owner of PCB-contaminated property is not entitled to injunctive relief under RCRA compelling the former owner to either pay for future cleanup costs at the property or take over remediation in its entirety. Injunctive relief is not available when abatement of the contamination has not yet begun. Because no remediation has occurred at the site, the current owner is not entitled to the relief it requests. The current owner also filed a CERCLA claim against the former owner and sought summary judgment as to the former owner's status as an operator at the property at the time of the PCB discharge, as well as its liability for response costs. But the evidence demonstrates that there are issues of fact still to be resolved. Although the current owner theoretically could prove that the former owner is a responsible party based on the circumstantial evidence provided, the former owner has rebutted that evidence with credible facts and expert opinion. And because liability under CERCLA remains unresolved, it would be premature for the court to determine the former owner's responsibility, if any, for statutory damages.