Arranger Liability Under CERCLA: Leveraging Recent Court Decisions

Reducing Liability Amid Uncertainty and Absent Clear Guidance

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide environmental counsel with a briefing of how recent court decisions have addressed arranger liability issues and their implications for CERCLA liability. The panel will provide guidance to counsel on overcoming the challenging issues in arranger liability litigation.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. U.S. (BNSF) significantly changed the legal landscape under CERCLA, setting limits of arranger liability. However BNSF's application of the fact-intensive inquiry has proved challenging for parties and environmental counsel.

CERCLA arranger liability is evolving, and cases addressing such liability are aggressively litigated. Counsel for businesses facing potential liability must understand current court rulings and develop the factual record to demonstrate intent, or lack thereof, of the potential disposer.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental attorneys examines recent decisions on arranger liability and how the courts are applying BNSF, as well as the implications for CERCLA liability. The panel will offer best practices for minimizing CERCLA liability.



  1. Brief overview of arranger liability
  2. Challenging issues related to arranger liability
    1. “Arranged for”
    2. Intent/knowledge
    3. Nature of transaction
  3. Lessons learned from recent decisions
    1. NCR Corp. v. George A. Whiting Paper Co. (7th Cir. Sept. 25, 2014)
    2. United States v. Federal Resources Corp. (D. Idaho July 14, 2014)
    3. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products v. NCR Corp. (W.D. Mich. 2013)
    4. Carolina Power & Light Co. v. Alcan Aluminum Corp. (E.D.N.C. 2013)
    5. W.R. Grace & Co.-Conn. v. Zotos Int'l Inc. (W.D.N.Y. 2013)
  4. Best practices


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What intent is necessary to implicate arranger liability under CERCLA?
  • How are different jurisdictions applying the BNSF decision in arranger liability cases?
  • What steps can counsel take to overcome the challenging issues involved in arranger liability litigation?


Murphy, Michael
Michael K. Murphy

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Mr. Murphy handles a wide variety of cases under most federal and a number of state environmental statutes, and has...  |  Read More

Schiller, Suzanne
Shoshana Suzanne Ilene Schiller

Manko Gold Katcher & Fox

Ms. Schiller, former Chair of the ABA's Superfund and Natural Resources Damages Litigation Committee, handles a...  |  Read More

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