CHEMICAL WASTE MGT. v. ARMSTRONG WORLD INDUSTRIES188.8.131.52 | Nov 30th -0001
This action was brought under the liability provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9657 (1982).1 Plaintiff, Chemical Waste Management, Inc. ("Chem Waste"), seeks to recover "response costs"2 incurred or to be incurred as a result of the release or threatened release3 of hazardous substances4 at the Lyncott Landfill in New Milford, Pennsylvania (the "Lyncott facility"). Defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that they cannot be responsible for Chem Waste's response costs. Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Movant bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion, and indicating the absence of genuine issues of material fact. The nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial; there is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, ___, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510-11, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court must construe the facts and inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Pollock v. American Telephone & Telegraph,794 F.2d 860, 864 (3d Cir.1986). Chem Waste, its parent, Waste Management, Inc. ("Waste Management"), and several of Waste Management's wholly owned subsidiaries are engaged in the industrial, hazardous and chemical waste disposal business. Defendants, generators of hazardous waste, contracted with plaintiff and plaintiff's predecessor, the Stabatrol Corporation ("Old Stabatrol"), for the disposal of industrial waste material. On November 14, 1980, Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc. ("WMPA"), a subsidiary of Waste Management, entered into an asset purchase agreement (the "Purchase Agreement") with Old Stabatrol, the owner and operator ("owner/operator")5 of the Lyncott facility, and the individual
shareholders (the "Metzval parties") of 1533 North Fletcher Corporation, the sole shareholder of Old Stabatrol. WMPA acquired all the assets, rights, properties, and business of Old Stabatrol. These comprised, inter alia, all of the waste disposal contracts of Old Stabatrol, including those with the defendant generators, the business and trade name of "Stabatrol Corporation," all waste disposal facility permits and licenses, and all subsidiary corporations. After the sale, the Stabatrol Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary ("New Stabatrol") of Chem Waste. Old Stabatrol changed its name to the Metzval Corporation and subsequently was dissolved.
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