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Florida Power Corp. v. FirstEnergy Corp.

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20193
Nos. 1:12-cv-1839-DAP, (N.D. Ohio, 12/08/2016) (Polster, J.)

A district court, on cross-motions for summary judgment, held that a utility company should not be held liable under CERCLA for the release of hazardous substances on two properties owned by an energy company. The energy company brought this action under CERCLA to recover cleanup costs it incurred in connection with the release of hazardous substances on two properties in Florida between 1929 and 1943. The properties were previously owned and operated by subsidiaries of the utility's predecessor. The energy company sought to pierce the corporate veil of the predecessor, claiming that it dominated the two subsidiaries and should also be liable for the release of hazardous substances, making its successor, the utility, liable in contribution. The court found that the energy company met the first element for piercing the corporate veil. But it failed to meet the second as it is extremely difficult to show, by clear and convincing contemporaneous evidence, fraudulent conduct that occurred nearly 80 years ago. Nor was there any evidence of contemporaneous reports by governmental agencies finding that the utility's predecessor used its two subsidiaries for fraudulent purposes. The case was therefore dismissed as final.