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Shell Oil Co. v. United States

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20105
Nos. 2013-5051, (Fed. Cir., 04/28/2014)

The Federal Circuit held that the U.S. government must reimburse four oil companies for CERCLA costs they incurred cleaning up contamination stemming from the production of high-octane aviation gas (avgas) during World War II. The oil companies entered into contracts with the government that promised reimbursement of "any new or additional . . . charges" the government imposes on the oil companies “by reason of the production, manufacture, sale or delivery of [avgas].” The avgas contracts therefore require the government to reimburse the oil companies for their CERCLA “charges.” The lower court therefore erred in granting summary judgment to the government with respect to breach of contract liability. However, the court agreed with the lower court that material factual disputes preclude granting summary judgment on damages. That issue, therefore, was remanded for trial.