Sycamore Associates sued to require Ericsson to remove and dispose of the asbestos insulation, contending that Ericsson's leaving the asbestos laden inoperative boiler system in place violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §9607, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. §6972. Sycamore also asserted state law nuisance and negligence theories.
The District Court (N.D. Ill.) granted summary judgment for Ericsson, and Sycamore Associates appealed.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Ericsson. Looking at the CERCLA claim, the Court held that there was no “disposal” of asbestos into the environment – a requirement for a CERCLA violation. While the site was a facility, Ericsson was a responsible party and Sycamore had incurred costs in cleaning up the asbestos, simply leaving the asbestos-lined heating system on the property did not constitute disposal of the toxin into the environment.
The RCRA claim failed for the same reason as the CERCLA claim: Ericsson did not handle, store, treat, transport or dispose of the asbestos when it abandoned the heating system. There was no evidence presented to show that Ericsson did anything with the asbestos system.
Summary judgment for Ericsson was upheld.
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Related Categories: Civil Procedure , Civil Remedies , Property
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|William J. Anaya||Arnstein & Lehr, LLP|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Paul O'Flaherty, Jr.||Cheely O'Flaherty & Ayres|