Philadelphia Superfund Lawyers
Michelman & Bricker, P.C. Assist Generators and Transporters in Litigation over Contaminated Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state environmental enforcement agencies, or private parties often commence litigation against hundreds of parties over landfills, manufacturing facilities, or other properties which have been contaminated by wastes containing hazardous substances. EPA, acting under section 104 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund), 42. U.S.C. § 9601, et seq., issues unilateral administrative orders to parties directing them to perform the work to remediate a contaminated site, or files civil lawsuits under section 107 of CERCLA to require parties to reimburse EPA for the costs that it incurs in performing those cleanups (Cost Recovery Actions).
Similar cost recovery actions may be brought by state environmental enforcement agencies, under state laws such as Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA), 35 PA.C.S.A. Section 6020, et seq., the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act), N.J.S.A._58:10-23.11, and the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act, MGL C. 21E._
Once EPA or state agencies commence cost recovery litigation, the site owners and operators, and generators and transporters of the waste, routinely expand such lawsuits by bringing “contribution” actions against any other party who generated, sent, or brought waste to the site.
At Michelman & Bricker, P.C., our Philadelphia superfund lawyers help clients to protect their interests in such cost recovery or contribution litigation, and to effectively and efficiently manage that litigation through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes. We have a demonstrated history of successfully negotiating with state and federal agencies on behalf of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs). Our Philadelphia superfund lawyers have served as both liaison counsel and common counsel for hundreds of parties in various superfund cases, overseeing and conducting settlement negotiations that work for our clients. Superfund litigation can be complex and costly. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Superfund Liability Is Not Limited to Hazardous Wastes
Superfund liability is not limited to hazardous wastes. Superfund liability is based upon hazardous substances. Responsibility under Superfund may be based upon wastes which are non-hazardous, such as plant trash from factories, commercial waste from stores, shopping centers, and office buildings, municipal trash, and municipal-type solid wastes, which contain some constituents which are hazardous substances.
Determining a Party’s Fair Share of Liability, Philadelphia Superfund Lawyers Can Help
Although CERCLA and similar state environmental statutes allow for the imposition of joint and several liability which can hold single party responsible for the cost of a cleanup, they also allow apportionment of liability, so that a party only pays for its fair, “allocable share” of part of that liability. A qualified Philadelphia superfund lawyer can investigate and assess the strength of the evidence which links a party to the site (nexus), the volume of that waste, the nature and level of toxicity of that waste, and the factors that should be considered in how the cost of cleaning up the site should be allocated for that waste stream.
If you are the owner of land contaminated or land which was contaminated by a previous owner, we can determine whether you meet the requirement for establishing an innocent landowner” defense, exempting you from liability. Similarly, if you are interested in purchasing land which is already contaminated with hazardous substances, our Philadelphia superfund lawyers can help negotiate an agreement to reduce your potential liability for that contamination, as a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser.
Philadelphia Superfund Lawyers, Michelman & Bricker, P.C., Understand Contaminated Site Management
At Michelman & Bricker, P.C., we have a demonstrated history of successfully negotiating with federal and state and agencies to settle cost recovery and contribution claims at landfills and other contaminated sites. Whether our Philadelphia superfund lawyers are serving as liaison counsel and common counsel for hundreds of parties, or just representing the interests of a single client, we find creative solutions to reduce the cost of Superfund litigation and obtain fair results for our clients. For example, as Liaison Counsel for 120 generators in the Combe Fill South Landfill litigation, we supervised their participation in an ADR allocation process and conducted settlement negotiations over the federal and state governments= demands for $200 million in clean-up costs and natural resource damages. We obtained early dismissals of many of our individual clients from the litigation through de micromis and de minimis settlements.