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Dixon Lumber Co. v. Austinville Limestone Co.

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20078
Nos. 7:16-cv-00130, (W.D. Va., 06/09/2017) (Dillon, J.)

A district court held that a mining company will not face CERCLA liability as a successor to another company because there was no overlap in ownership. The mining company and a lumber company purchased adjacent lots from an industrial company whose subsidiary operated a zinc and lead mine on what is referred to as the Austinville site. Years before their purchases, the subsidiary dumped limestone tailings on Austin Meadows, the property now owned by the lumber company. The lumber company brought suit under CERCLA against the mining company for environmental liabilities arising from the limestone tailings. The court held that the mining company did not expressly or impliedly assume the CERCLA responsibilities of the industrial company in its purchase agreement. Further, the court held that the mining company is not a mere continuation of the industrial company, focusing on the facts that there was no overlap in ownership, the companies' difference in operations, and that the mining company never reopened the industrial company's underground mine. The court granted the mining company's motion for partial summary judgment.