CERCLA Statute of Limitations and Preemption: Latest Developments in Superfund and Environmental Litigation

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, September 29, 2017

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to counsel on the application of the CERCLA statute of limitations and preemption and removal versus remedial measures. The panel will offer best practices for managing timing issues in Superfund and other environmental litigation.


Litigation to assign and apportion contamination cleanup costs among private and public parties under CERCLA raises some of the most complex issues in environmental law. Plaintiffs and defendants must navigate a growing and conflicting body of law regarding the timeliness of cost recovery and contribution actions to determine whether a three-year or six-year limitations period applies, and what event triggers which limitations period.

This webinar will explain the current state of the law on these issues and recent case law that underscores the challenge of designating environmental work as removal or remedial in nature, and the implications for whether a lawsuit is timely.

Another fundamental timing issue under CERCLA is the extent to which the statute’s preemption of state accrual dates for contamination lawsuits extends to state statutes of repose. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Waldburger held that CERCLA does not preempt a state statute of repose, but only preempts state statutes of limitations in environmental tort cases.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental attorneys provides practitioners on both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ side guidance on how to apply the many aspects of the CERCLA statute of limitations and CERCLA preemption of state statutes of limitation.


  1. CERCLA statute of limitations under Sections 107 and 113
  2. Removal vs. remedial measures and their impact on timeliness of litigation
  3. CERCLA preemption of state statutes of limitation and repose for tort lawsuits (Section 309)


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • When should a response action be considered a remedial or removal action?
  • What steps can counsel take to leverage the federal accrual date for an environmental tort claim, whether governed by a statute of limitations or repose, or both?
  • What other best practices can counsel employ to reduce exposure to CERCLA liability based on timeliness or preemption concerns?


Kegan A. Brown, Partner
Latham & Watkins, New York

Mr. Brown is a member of the firm's Litigation & Trial and Environment, Land & Resources Departments. He represents clients in complex environmental, products liability and toxic tort litigations; environmental regulatory matters, including remediations and natural resource damage claims; and transactional matters. He advises clients across a variety of industry sectors, including manufacturing, retail and consumer products, chemical, pulp and paper, and oil and gas.

Matthew D. Thurlow, Partner
BakerHostetler, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Thurlow is an environmental litigator with significant experience in environmental matters brought under the Clean Air Act, CERCLA, Clean Water Act and RCRA. He formerly served in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice where he acted as lead counsel on a variety of civil enforcement matters, including a major Clean Water Act case against the city of Memphis, Tennessee, several Superfund cases, and several Clean Air Act matters involving power plants and oil refineries. He is a frequent writer and speaker.

John Van Vlear, Partner
Newmeyer & Dillion, Newport Beach, Calif.

Mr. Van Vlear specializes in all aspects of “contaminated sites” environmental legal work. He focuses on investigation, strategic analysis, and remediation for site acquisitions/sales, development, regulatory interface, and related litigation in federal and state courts. He counsels clients in recognizing and managing environmental risks related to property. He is a frequent speaker on environmental, real estate and contamination topics.

David A. Rockman, Member
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, Pittsburgh

Mr. Rockman counsels clients in managing environmental compliance and environmental risks to meet their legal obligations with respect to federal, state, and local environmental laws, regulations, and permits. He has experience with all of the major environmental programs governing air, water, waste, and land issues, across a broad spectrum of industries and activities.

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This webinar is eligible for at least 1.5 general CLE credits.

CLE credits are not available for PR.

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September 29, 2017
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Environmental Law Advisory Board

John J. Allen


Allen Matkins

Albert M. Cohen


Loeb & Loeb

Aaron Courtney


Stoel Rives

Andrew N. Davis


Shipman & Goodwin

David R. Gillay


Barnes & Thornburg

Brian D. Israel


Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

Thomas J. P. McHenry


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

James B. Slaughter


Beveridge & Diamond

Jeffrey A. Smith

Senior Counsel

Sidley Austin

E. Gail Suchman

Special Counsel

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

Gregory D. Trimarche

Senior Counsel

Ring Bender

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