U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Superfund Cost Recovery Right for Volunteers
By Tom Mounteer, David J. Freeman and Raymond N. Pomeroy II
On June 11, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in United States v. Atlantic Research Corp., that businesses and other parties that incur environmental cleanup costs under the Superfund statute, but who have not resolved their liability with the federal government, have a right to recover those costs from those responsible for contamination at a site. Until this decision, there was uncertainty over whether businesses in this situation had a statutory right to recoup such costs. Three years ago, the Court declared that only those that had been sued, or had settled with the government, had statutory contribution rights. So this decision is a significant affirmation of businesses rights to recoup all or a share of their cleanup costs from other parties.