Federal Court Shifts $700 Million Cleanup Costs of Nation’s Largest Superfund Site to NCR

Dépèche transmise le 3 mars 2011 par Business Wire

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a lawsuit involving the nation’s largest Superfund site, a federal court in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Monday granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Menasha Corporation and other defendants. The ruling shifts responsibility for an estimated $700 million in cleanup costs for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contaminating Lower Fox River and Green Bay to NCR Corp. and related entities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

“The court’s decision is the next logical step toward a final resolution of the parties’ liability for this massive Superfund site.”

“We are pleased that the court holds responsible those who actually contaminated the river with PCBs, rather than forcing paper recyclers like Menasha Corporation to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs,” said Menasha’s attorney, Philip Hunsucker of Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC. “The court’s decision is the next logical step toward a final resolution of the parties’ liability for this massive Superfund site.”

NCR manufactured carbonless copy paper at the site using PCBs from the 1950s to the 1970s. The lawsuit, NCR Corp. v. George A. Whiting Paper Company, was filed in 2008. In December 2009, the court held NCR could not recover from the defendants on its contribution claims. Monday’s decision grants summary judgment on Menasha Corporation’s claim for declaratory relief.

The court held that NCR and others, “…were responsible for creating the hazardous condition; they knew there was a risk of environmental damage; and they profited from the very condition (PCBs) that made their product hazardous, in contrast to the defendants, whose discharges of PCBs were almost entirely unknowing and whose profits in no way turned on the presence of PCBs in the broke they processed.”

As a result, the court ordered NCR and related entities to reimburse Menasha and other defendants for all environmental response costs the government requires them to pay to clean up PCB contamination in the Lower Fox River downstream of Little Lake Butte des Morts.

The court did not resolve whether NCR must reimburse the defendants for costs they incurred to remediate PCB contamination in Little Lake Butte des Morts. Also unaffected are claims brought by the United States and State of Wisconsin.

Philip Hunsucker and David Rabbino of Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC represented Menasha Corporation in the lawsuit. The law firm, which has offices in California, Indiana and Washington DC, focuses on environmental litigation, insurance coverage/bad faith, and investor securities disputes.

NCR was represented by Sidley Austin LLP.

Business Wire

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