Dry cleaning equipment manufacturer not liable under CERCLA as an arranger for disposal

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Date: March-April 2013
From: Hazardous Waste Consultant(Vol. 31, Issue 2)
Publisher: Aspen Publishers, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,226 words
Lexile Measure: 1390L

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In a December 14, 2012 decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part, and denied in part, a motion for summary judgment (KFD Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Eureka, No. C 08-4571 MMC [N.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2012]). The case involves the use of a Multimatic Solo Plus machine at the KFD Enterprises, Inc. (KFD) dry cleaning business in Eureka, California. KFD alleged that, because the machine's instruction manual directs that "waste water must flow into an open drain," the equipment manufacturer was liable for the resulting contamination.

The district court disagreed, finding that, because there was no intent to dispose, the manufacturer had not arranged for the disposal of hazardous waste. As the company's "probable purpose" in selling the dry cleaning equipment was not disposal, the company was not liable under CERCLA for arranger liability. The court also rejected the argument that the manufacturer exercised control over the disposal. However, the court found that the manufacturer was not entitled to summary judgment on several additional claims, including continuing nuisance, strict liability, and negligence.

Current Case

KFD owned and operated a dry cleaning business at 2907 E Street, in Eureka, California. The site has a history of legal action relating to subsurface contamination. In the current case, the court considered a motion for summary judgment filed by Multimatic LLC and The Kirrberg Corporation (collectively Multimatic) as to KFD's Fourth Amended Complaint, which was filed June 1, 2012. In its complaint, KFD alleged numerous claims under CERCLA Section 107(a), California's Hazardous Substance Account Act (HSAA), trespass and nuisance common law, strict liability and negligence, equitable indemnity, common law contribution, and declaratory relief. KFD filed opposition to Multimatic's motion and, on December 14, 2012, the district court dismissed some of the claims that KFD alleged against Multimatic.

Arranger Liability Claim

KFD asserted...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A326852314