On April 2, 2015, in AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in holding that district courts are not bound to a single method of distributing response costs in contribution actions under § 9613(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). The First and Ninth Circuits have held that courts may allocate such costs according to the most equitable method as long as it is consistent with the language and the purposes of CERCLA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, alternatively, has ruled that district courts must allocate response costs using the method prescribed by the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, which accounts for settlements by reducing total liability by the dollar amount of the agreement. This Comment argues that the First and Ninth Circuits’ interpretation of CERCLA is correct because it accounts for the variety and complexity of contribution actions under CERCLA and because it furthers CERCLA’s goals of promoting the prompt cleanup of hazardous waste sites and ensuring that parties responsible for environmental harm bear the cost of cleaning the damage.
Sean A. Feener, Distribution to Undo Excess: The Ninth Circuit Looks to an Equitable Approach to Apportion the Costs of Environmental Cleanup in AmeriPride Services Inc. v. Texas Eastern Overseas Inc., 57 B.C.L. Rev. E. Supp. 160 (2016), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol57/iss6/10