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Emergency Services Billing Corp. v. Allstate Insurance Co.

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20037
Nos. 11-2381, (7th Cir., 02/02/2012)

The Seventh Circuit held that automobile owners should not be held liable under CERCLA for costs incurred responding to automobile accidents. The case was brought by the billing agent of a fire department that sought response costs from individuals who were involved in motor vehicle accidents and the insurance companies that represent them. Under CERCLA, the owner of a "facility" from which hazardous substances have been released is responsible for the response costs that result from the release. However, personal motor vehicles fall under CERCLA's "consumer product in consumer use" exception to the definition of "facilities." The language of CERCLA is clear on its face, and a look into CERCLA's legislative history, the term "consumer product" as it is used in other statutes, and EPA's interpretation of the term supports this conclusion. The billing agent's claim, therefore, was dismissed.