Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law
Author: Walter G. Wright
In 3000 E. Imperial, LLC v. RobertShaw Controls
in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, a key issue was when an underground storage tank ("UST") containing trichloroethylene ("TCE") began leaking. A company that purchased property had filed a federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act ("CERCLA") cost recovery action against a former owner of the property. In order for this prior property owner to be liable under CERCLA, the plaintiff had to demonstrate that a "disposal" occurred on the property during defendant's ownership between 1955 and 1963. This disposal and/or release would have had to have occurred from the USTs holding TCE between these dates. As a result, the decision contains an extensive discussion of both the plaintiff's and defendant's experts who analysis and opinion as to why it was likely and not likely that the leaks occurred between these dates. The discussion included an opinion based on the thickness of the USTs and the resistivity of the soil. Further, corrosion rates of USTs made by the relevant manufacturer was also assessed. A copy of the decision can be accessed below.