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Rev 937 Lawsuit and CERCLA Explained

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Rev 937 Lawsuit Involving Leach Oil Company Site and Rev 973 Site

Case Name: REV 973 LLC v. John Mouren-Laurens, et al

Case Number: 2:98-cv-10690-DSF-EX

The case Rev 973 v. Mouren-Laurens et al is an environmental litigation claim against two major sites, Mouren-Laurens Site known as ML site, and Leach Oil Site. Rev 973, ML Site and Leach Oil Site are original parties. However, there are thousands of potentially responsible parties (PRP) who are also involved in the legal action. PRP’s are involved in this lawsuit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). To clarify who can be a potentially responsible party for this case, it is necessary to understand what is CERCLA and how it defines PRP’s.

CERCLA is a United States federal law aimed to provide assistance to local communities in protecting the public health, safety, and environment from chemical hazards. It is designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances as well as broadly define “pollutants or contaminants.”It also gives authority to federal natural resource agencies, states and Native American tribes to recover natural resource damages caused by releases of hazardous substances.

A.  CERCLA authorizes two kinds of response actions:

  1.    Short-term Removals, where actions may be taken to address releases or threatened releases requiring prompt response. Classification for removal actions are the follows:
  • Emergency
  • Time-critical
  • Non-time critical
  • Removal Actions are usually taken if there is danger to human health or the environment.
  1.    Long-term or Remedial response actions, that permanently and significantly reduce the dangers associated with releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances that are serious, but not immediately life threatening. These actions can be conducted only at sites listed on the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL). Remedial Actions may include preventing the migration of pollutants with containment, or removing and treating or neutralizing toxic substances.

B.  A potentially responsible party (PRP) is a possible polluter who may be liable for the contamination or misuse of a particular property. There are four classes of PRP’s who may be liable for contamination at a site:

  1.    The current owner or operator of the site;
  2.    The owner or operator of a site at the time that disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant occurred;
  3.    A person who arranged for the disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant at a site;
  4.    And a person who transported a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant to a site, who also has selected that site for the disposal of the hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.

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