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PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston LLC

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20078
Nos. 11-1662 et al., (4th Cir., 04/04/2013)

The Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision allocating response costs to various PRPs in connection with the cleanup of hazardous substances at a former fertilizer manufacturing site in Charleston, South Carolina. After incurring response costs, the current owner of a portion of the site brought a cost recovery action under CERCLA against the corporate successor to a former owner of the site. The corporate successor counterclaimed and also brought third-party contribution actions against parties with past and current connections to the site. The lower court found that the corporate successor was a PRP jointly and severally liable for response costs at the site. It also ruled that the current owner and some of the other parties were PRPs liable for an allocated portion of the site's response costs. The parties appealed, and the court affirmed in all respects. The evidence supports the court's ruling that the various parties are PRPs. In addition, it correctly ruled that the harm at the site is not subject to apportionment. And the court's equitable allocation of liability was reasonable when considering the record as a whole.