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B.F. Goodrich v. Betkoski

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

March 13, 1996, Argued ; November 1, 1996, Decided

Docket Nos. 95-6074, 95-6088, 95-6090, 95-6098

Opinion

 [*511]  CARDAMONE, Circuit Judge:

This appeal, arising originally from the disposal of hazardous substances at two Connecticut landfills, Beacon Heights and Laurel Park, requires us to determine whether defendants accused of generating and transporting hazardous substances deposited at the two landfill sites might be liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to contribute to the costs of cleaning up the sites. Under CERCLA, several classes of responsible parties are liable for most costs incurred in responding to and remediating sites where hazardous substances are found. We must, in addition, decide if certain parties remain susceptible to suit by the United States and the State of Connecticut for response costs incurred by [**6]  these governments.

Plaintiffs-appellants the United States, the State of Connecticut, the Beacon Heights Coalition, and the Laurel Park Coalition appeal from a judgment entered May 2, 1995 by the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Dorsey, C.J.). The court granted judgment on the pleadings against the United States and Connecticut and granted summary judgment against the Beacon Heights Coalition and the Laurel Park Coalition and in favor of nearly 100 defendants alleged in plaintiffs' complaints to be potentially responsible parties in an action under CERCLA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9675, as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-499, 100 Stat. 1613 (1986).

The Beacon Heights and Laurel Park Coalitions are groups of industrial waste generators that sought contribution from third parties after having settled their liability with the United States, the State of Connecticut, and the Murthas and affiliated entities -- the owners/operators of the two landfill sites. The Laurel Park Coalition sought initially to add 1151 other potentially responsible parties to the litigation. The district court ground away at this number [**7]  slowly, yet it "ground exceeding small." Insisting that these plaintiffs only implead those parties against whom they had a claim that was both legally and factually substantiated, the district court reduced to 41 the 1151 third party defendants that these plaintiffs moved to add, thus eliminating over 1000 potential parties from the suit.

Later, with motions for summary judgment before it, the district court construed some of CERCLA's basic provisions in a manner inconsistent with our precedents and, ruling that the coalitions had failed to advance sufficient proof, thereby was able to grant summary judgment to nearly all of the roughly 100 defendants, dismissing plaintiffs' complaints against them. The district court also found that both governments had been fully reimbursed by the industrial coalitions and the landfills' owners and therefore granted summary judgment against these governments.

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99 F.3d 505 *; 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 28267 **; 45 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 1303; 27 ELR 20329; 43 ERC (BNA) 1481; 36 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 500

B.F. GOODRICH; UPJOHN COMPANY; DOW CORNING CORPORATION; ENVIRONMENTAL WASTE RESOURCES, INC.; REYNOLDS ALUMINUM BUILDING PRODUCTS COMPANY; UNIROYAL CHEMICAL CO., INC.; WHITE CONSOLIDATED INDUSTRIES; KERITE COMPANY; UNISYS CORPORATION; RISDON CORP.; HOECHST CELANESE CORPORATION; CADBURY BEVERAGES, INC.; COLTEC INDUSTRIES, INC.; KEN-CHAS RESERVE CO.; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; STATE OF CONNECTICUT; NAUGATUCK GLASS CO.; NAUGATUCK TREATMENT CO., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. JOHN BETKOSKI; GEORGE CLARK; ARMSTRONG RUBBER COMPANY; THOMAS ASHMORE; BOROUGH OF NAUGATUCK; BRISTOL FLOWED GASKET COMPANY; CONNECTICUT RESOURCES RECOVERY AUTHORITY; DEE'S, INC., also known as Dee's Refuse, Inc.; DERBY TIRE COMPANY; EASTERN COMPANY; GENERAL ROOFING & SHEET METAL CO., INC.; GERALD METALS, INC.; C.R. GIBSON COMPANY; HOSPITAL MARKETING SERVICES CO., INC.; IDEAL MANUFACTURING CO.; JACOB BROTHERS, INC.; LITTON SYSTEMS, INC., also known as Winchester Electronics; MANAFORT BROTHERS, INC.; NASCO, INC.; NEW HAVEN HOUSING AUTHORITY; NORTHEAST UTILITIES; FRANK PERROTTI & SONS, INC.; QUALITY RUBBER CO.; SANITARY REFUSE CO., INC.; SEYMOUR BRASS TURNING CO.; SPERRY RAND CORPORATION; STAUFFER CHEMICAL COMPANY; TOWN OF MIDDLEBURY; TOWN OF THOMASTON; TOWN OF WOODBURY; TRIANGLE INDUSTRIES, INC.; TURNER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY; U.S. PROLAM, INC.; WATERBURY COMPANIES, INC.; WATERTOWN HOUSING AUTHORITY; ZOLLO DRUM COMPANY, INC.; ATLANTIC RICHFIELD CO.; ADAM'S SERVICE STATION; ARMAND'S AUTO SERVICE; HIGH RIDGE APARTMENTS; ASHMORE TRUCKING; BEACON OUTING CLUB; BRASS RAIL RESTAURANT; COFFEE SHOP; CRELAN CONSTR. CO.; CT. SHEET METAL/WOOD CO.; DADDIO'S; DAVID RUPSIS; EDWARD BETOWSKI; ELK'S LODGE #967; GEORGE'S FLOOR COVERING; HORIZON HOMES; KORVETTE SERVICES; LATELLA CARTING CO.; LOMBARD BROS., INC.; LONG MEADOW CAFE; MCDONALD'S RESTAURANT; MEYERS & SCHWARTZ; NEAL'S COFFEE SHOPPE; NELSON MENDES; PORTANOVA TRUCKING CO.; PORTUGUESE CLUB; RAY'S HARDWARE; SHORE'S AUTO PARTS; STEVE'S TIRES; STOP & SHOP; TRIANGLE SERVICES; TROWBRIDGE APTS.; VALLEY MOTOR TRAILER SALES; VALLEY MOBILE HOMES PARK; VIEIRA AGENCY; WATERBURY PRESSED METALS; TOWN OF BETHANY; CITY OF WATERBURY; CAPOZZIELLO BROTHERS; TOWN OF KILLINGWORTH; TOWN OF BEACON FALLS; NAUGATUCK Y.M.C.A.; E. ERIC ARSAN REFUSE; JOHN ASHMORE; JOSEPH BETKOSKI; CONNECTICUT PHARMACARE, INC., doing business as Ford Pharmacy; FIRST NATIONAL SUPERMARKETS, INC.; P. FRANCINI COMPANY; TOWN OF HAMDEN; JETZON TIRE CO.; CITY OF MILFORD; NRS CARTING CO., INC.; TOWN OF ORANGE; PETER PAUL CADBURY; TOWN OF PLYMOUTH; TOWN OF SEYMOUR; TOWN OF STRATFORD; TOWN OF WATERTOWN; TOWN OF WESTPORT, Defendants-Appellees.

Subsequent History:  [**1]  As Amended. Order of April 25, 1997, Denying Rehearing and Clarifying the November 1996 Opinion, Reported at: 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 8768.

Rehearing denied by, Clarified by B.F. Goodrich v. Betkoski, 112 F.3d 88, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 8768 (2d Cir. Conn., 1997)

Writ of certiorari denied Zollo Drum Co. v. B. F. Goodrich Co., 524 U.S. 926, 141 L. Ed. 2d 694, 118 S. Ct. 2318, 1998 U.S. LEXIS 3897 (1998)

Appeal after remand at, Remanded by Goodrich Corp. v. Town of Middlesbury, 311 F.3d 154, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 22602 (2d Cir. Conn., 2002)

Prior History: Plaintiffs-appellants United States, Connecticut, the Beacon Heights Coalition, and the Laurel Park Coalition appeal from a judgment entered May 2, 1995 by the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Dorsey, C.J.). This judgment granted judgment on the pleadings against the United States and Connecticut and granted summary judgment against the Beacon Heights Coalition and the Laurel Park Coalition and in favor of nearly 100 defendants (allegedly potentially responsible parties) in an action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9675.

B.F. Goodrich Co. v. Murtha, 855 F. Supp. 545, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13081 (D. Conn., 1994)

Disposition: Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

CORE TERMS

hazardous substance, coalitions, district court, disposed, costs, landfills, grant summary judgment, discovery, settlement, transporter, summary judgment, response costs, cases, parties, site, successor liability, remediation, summary judgment motion, products, tire, potentially responsible party, municipal, wastes, generators, consent decree, sua sponte, non-settling, containers, trial court, deposited

Business & Corporate Compliance, Hazardous Wastes & Toxic Substances, CERCLA & Superfund, Hazardous Substance Superfund, Environmental Law, Enforcement, Cleanup Costs, General Overview, Potentially Responsible Parties, Generators, Cleanup Standards, Operators & Owners, Transporters, Cost Recovery Actions, Strict Liability, Defenses, National Contingency Plan, Transportation, Real Property Law, Environmental Regulations, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Releases, Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Opposing Materials, Cleanup, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Solid Wastes, Disposal Standards, Air Quality, Toxic Substances, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Nuisances, Strict Liability, & Trespasses, Toxic Torts, Successors, Torts, Vicarious Liability, Corporations, Predecessor & Successor Corporations, Business & Corporate Law, Joint Ventures, Mergers & Acquisitions Law, Liabilities & Rights of Successors, Successor Liability Doctrine, De Facto Mergers, Mere Continuation, Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety & Security Reauthorization Act, Burdens of Proof, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Evidence, Burdens of Production, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Supporting Materials, Motions for Summary Judgment, Notice Requirement, Appropriateness, Criminal Law & Procedure, Reviewability, Preservation for Review, Records, Timing of Motions & Responses, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Discovery & Disclosure, Admissibility, Expert Witnesses, Scientific Evidence, Testimony, Expert Witnesses, Helpfulness, Contribution Actions, Settlements, Governments, Federal Government, Claims By & Against, State & Territorial Governments, Financial Responsibility, Jurisdiction, Remedies, Damages, Judgment Interest, Prejudgment Interest, Relief From Judgments, Pretrial Judgments, Judgment on Pleadings, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review