John Eldridge Comments on Shell Superfund Cleanup in Law360

05/04/2009

High Court Lets Shell Off Hook For Superfund Cleanup
Law360

Shell Oil Co., which shipped pesticides for many years to an agricultural chemical distributor located near Bakersfield, Calif., cannot be held liable for any cleanup costs associated with the Superfund site even though it knew spills would occur, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

John Eldridge, a partner at Haynes and Boone LLP who was not directly involved in the case, said the Supreme Court's decision would give added comfort to companies that sell all kinds of products, from ink cartridges to chlorine for swimming pools to anything that has metal in it.

“It will, under most circumstances, prevent them from being held liable as an arranger for disposal, even when they know that the customer may release or spill some of the product into the environment,” Eldridge said.

He added that the decision would make apportionment rulings at the district court level more likely to be upheld on appeal.

Article excerpted from Law360.

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