The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday (1/14), in LWD PRP Group v. Alcan Corp., et al., Case No. 14-5730, to resuscitate affirmative defense arguments against claims being made by a conglomeration of 58 settling corporations that had negotiated a Consent Decree with the United States EPA. The panel relied heavily on a decision six months ago in Hobart Corp., et al. v. Waste Management of Ohio, Nos. 3273/3276 (6th Cir.). Holding the settling parties' claims are time barred due to the expiration of the CERCLA statute of limitation for contribution claims, under the circumstances presented, the LWD PRP Group panel held the settlement's effective date is the appropriate triggering event when calculating the applicable statute of limitations. Rejecting the settling parties' arguments that the completion of a removal action should be the limitations period's trigger, the LWD PRP Group panel noted no distinction with Hobart and no power to reverse a precedential opinion of the Court. The opinion reverses the United States District Court (W.D. Ky.) that had denied defendants' motions to dismiss the settling-PRP group's contribution claims against hundreds of other companies, state agencies, municipalities and universities.
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