CERCLA Liability Distribution: Emerging Trends

Establishing Arranger Liability and Apportionment of Liability Since Burlington Northern

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

Conducted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide environmental counsel with a review of the court rulings since Burlington Northern. The panel will discuss environmental divisibility and arranger liability and related issues concerning liability under CERCLA.


The Supreme Court’s Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. U.S. decision defined standards for establishing arranger liability and for apportionment of liability under CERCLA.

Since Burlington Northern, courts have endeavored to follow the Supreme Court’s directive to conduct fact-intensive inquiries into a defendant’s intent when determining arranger liability and into whether a reasonable basis for apportionment exists or whether to impose joint and several liability.

Counsel for potentially responsible parties (PRPs) must understand how the lower courts’ application of Burlington Northern also provides new ways to minimize CERCLA liability.

Listen as our authoritative panel reviews the Supreme Court's ruling, examines how courts currently apply Burlington Northern – including complex river cases like the Seventh Circuit's September 2014 Fox River decisions – and discusses the implications of this case law for liability under CERCLA. The panel will offer best practices for mitigating liability and recovering response costs from other PRPs.



  1. A review of Burlington Northern
    1. Arranger liability
    2. Apportionment of liability
  2. Lower courts’ application of Burlington Northern
    1. Arranger liability
    2. Apportionment
  3. Potential application of Burlington Northern in other factual contexts
  4. Best practices
    1. Minimizing CERCLA liability
    2. Pursuing recovery of response costs from other PRPs


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Approaches for developing evidence to establish a reasonable basis for apportionment.
  • How is a defendant’s purported intent to arrange for the disposal of a hazardous substance determined?
  • How can landowners and alleged arrangers seek to minimize their liability under CERCLA?
  • What are the key considerations in efforts to recover response costs from other PRPs?


Dan Chorost
Dan Chorost

Sive Paget & Riesel

Mr. Chorost is an environmental and commercial litigator. His expertise also includes environmental impact review,...  |  Read More

Marc A. Zeppetello
Marc A. Zeppetello

Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp

Mr. Zeppetello has extensive experience with counseling and litigation related to federal and state environmental...  |  Read More

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