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蒙大拿 Court Rules 塞拉 Does Not Preempt Claims For Restoration 损害赔偿

一群私人土地所有者 ended of 2017 with 蒙大拿州最高下期双色球预测的一项裁决, in 大西洋里奇菲尔德公司诉蒙大拿州第二司法地区下期双色球预测, 他们可以继续根据州法律提出的索赔要求,要求赔偿受到前铜冶炼厂污染的场地所有人的损失。第16-0555号公告,2017年WL 6629410(2017年12月29日,蒙特)。在一项分割判决中,下期双色球预测裁定土地所有人’联邦《全面环境响应,赔偿与责任法》(“CERCLA”) because the claims did not constitute a 挑战 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’的站点清理计划。

此案涉及一个被Anaconda Smelter污染的区域,该区域现在由Atlantic Richfield Company(“ARCO”), which was designated as a 超级基金 site by 环保局 in 1983. 环保局 selected a cleanup plan for the Site in 1998 that detailed 阿科’s cleanup responsibilities, including the remediation of residential yards and drinking water wells that exhibited elevated levels of arsenic. A group of 98 landowners who owned property within the designated Site hired experts to determine what actions would be necessary to fully restore their properties to pre-contamination levels. The experts recommended that the landowners remove the top two feet of soil from their properties and install permeable walls to remove arsenic from the groundwater. These remedies are in excess of what 环保局 required of 阿科 in the cleanup plan for the Site.

In their private action, the landowners alleged common law trespass, nuisance, and strict liability against 阿科. They claimed various types of damages, including loss of the enjoyment and value of real property, and expenses and costs of investigation and restoration of their properties. In a motion for summary judgment, 阿科 conceded that the landowners could move forward with their claims for all damages the restoration damages, which 阿科 argued constituted an impermissible 挑战 to 环保局 ’s cleanup plan for the Site. Specifically, 阿科 argued that those claims violated Section 113(h) of 塞拉, known as the “timing of review” provision, which prohibits 联邦 下期双色球预测from hearing 挑战 to 环保局 ’为网站选择的补救措施。

下期双色球预测 agreed to hear argument on the issue after the District Court denied 阿科’关于地主的简易判决动议’s claim for restoration damages. 大多数 opinion, written by Judge James Jeremiah Shea, first cited to the Court’s prior decision in 森伯斯特学校区。第2诉Texaco,Inc., in which it held that common law claims for restoration damages in that case were not preempted by a 蒙大拿 state statute similar in purpose and scope to 塞拉. 165 P.3d 1079 (Mont., 2007). The 朝阳 该判决还阐明了一项推定,即对普通法要求的法定优先购买权存在推定的原则。为了存在这种先发制人,本下期双色球预测立即指出,一项法规需要明确或通过“必要的暗示” assert preemption over state law claims. 下期双色球预测 noted that 塞拉 did not assert any preemption over state claims. Rather, the timing provision in Section 113(h) cited by 阿科 only prohibited 联邦 下期双色球预测– not state 下期双色球预测– from hearing 挑战 to 环保局 ’s selected remedy. Further, the Court found, 塞拉 specifically provides that it does not affect State laws nor prohibit States from imposing “附加责任或要求”关于有害物质。   

然后,下期双色球预测裁定,不论上述管辖权问题如何,土地所有者’恢复索赔不构成“challenges” to 环保局 ’s cleanup plan pursuant to Section 113(h). Synthesizing case law from the 第九巡回赛 as well as district 下期双色球预测from other jurisdictions, the Court held that such 挑战 must “积极干预EPA’s work”这样所请求的救济将“停止,延迟或更改E​​PA正在进行的工作。”下期双色球预测至少发现,“challenge”不仅仅是要求被告花更多的钱为原告土地所有人清理土地’的好处。下期双色球预测认为土地所有者’在本案中,恢复索赔仅是寻求赔偿,以在更大程度上补救其财产,这要比EPA在其清理计划中所要求的更大。“Put simply,”下期双色球预测说,土地所有者没有要求下期双色球预测干预EPA’s remedial action.

After holding that the restoration claims did not impermissibly 挑战 环保局 ’s cleanup plan in violation of Section 113(h), the Court quickly disposed of 阿科’关于CERCLA抢占土地所有者的另一种论点’ claims because the landowners were also liable parties for contamination at the Site. 阿科 asserted that because the plaintiffs owned property within the 环保局 -designated Site, they were liable parties pursuant to 塞拉 (known as “潜在责任方” or “PRPs”),因此无法采取与EPA不一致的补救措施’的清理计划。下期双色球预测裁定,’该站点内的财产所有权可能使它们成为PRP,EPA从未宣称或将土地所有者视为PRP,并且适用于此类责任的六年时效法规早已过去。  

大多数’发现CERCLA并未抢占土地所有者’州法律的恢复要求与其他两个法官并不容易。贝丝·贝克(Beth Baker)法官写了一个同意意见,她同意多数意见’的决定,但指出她理解该控股是“narrow one.”她的意见强调,当土地所有者之间发生实际冲突时,CERCLA仍然可以优先于国家法律要求’州法律声明和EPA’s选择的补救措施。她写道,在这种情况下,地主’律师在听证会上辩称,在诉讼的九年中,没有证据表明土地所有者’声明实际上与EPA冲突’s选择的补救措施。因此,在这组特定的事实下没有任何先例。  

最后,劳里·麦金农法官在异议中辩称土地所有者’ restoration claims were preempted by 塞拉 because they did, in fact, impermissibly 挑战 环保局 ’的清理计划。意见认为第九巡回法庭提供“clear guidance” that a claim constitutes a 挑战 to 环保局 ’s选择的补救措施“与[EPA的目标有关’s] cleanup.”麦金农法官认为土地所有者’提倡降低适用砷含量和深挖土壤的拟议修复计划既相关又与“plainly contrary” to 环保局 ’的清理计划。因此,他们的主张应该被抢占。  

下期双色球预测’在这种情况下的裁决  是针对具体案例的解释,说明州法律何时要求赔偿损害赔偿不构成“challenge” to 环保局 ’根据州法律出现的根据第113(h)条选择的补救措施在蒙大拿州以外没有约束力的先例。但是, 在未解决的判例法中,其主张是值得注意的,即在某些情况下私人诉讼人可能会康复 超出其根据EPA对Superfund网站选择的补救措施所要求的费用以外的其他费用,以恢复其财产。