Latest CERCLA Decisions: Navigating Complexities of Arranger Liability, Divisibility, Settlement and More

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

Conducted on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will discuss the latest key federal court CERCLA decisions, provide insights into lessons from the decisions for environmental counsel and their clients going forward, and offer best practices for handling CERCLA issues.


Counsel must be up-to-date and understand the significant developments over the past year from federal court rulings. Further, counsel must understand the decisions by the administration that have affected the likelihood of CERCLA suits.

Recent rulings also conclude that federal district courts have an independent obligation to scrutinize CERCLA settlement terms rather than giving full deference to the parties. Under this standard, courts must independently scrutinize the terms of a consent decree by comparing “the proportion of total projected costs to be paid by the [settling parties] with the proportion of liability attributable to them.”

Further, several years after the landmark Supreme Court decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), federal courts of appeal and district courts continue to clarify the circumstances in which a person is liable as an “arranger” under CERCLA for arranging for the disposal of hazardous substances.

Listen as our panel of environmental attorneys provides an analysis of the latest and most important federal court CERCLA decisions. The panel will provide insight into what those decisions mean going forward and offer best practices for handling CERCLA issues.



  1. District court CERCLA decisions
  2. Federal appellate court CERCLA decisions
  3. Decisions by the administration
  4. What the decisions mean for future cases
  5. Best practices in light of recent CERCLA decisions


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Under what circumstances do companies need to proactively address potential parent liability for CERCLA cleanup costs caused by a subsidiary?
  • What triggers an obligation on the part of a federal district court to delve into the terms of a CERCLA settlement agreement?
  • Does any kind of consent decree related to a CERCLA case start the three-year statute of limitations?
  • What evidence is necessary to establish the divisibility of harm and avoid joint and several liability under CERCLA?
  • What changes, if any, by the current administration affect the likelihood of CERCLA actions being pursued?


Knowlton, Leah J.
Leah J. Knowlton

Taylor English Duma

Ms. Knowlton has more than 25 years of experience counseling clients on environmental regulatory matters and...  |  Read More

Reck, Belynda
Belynda S. Reck

Reed Smith

Ms. Reck’s practice focuses on environmental, product liability and complex business matters. She has...  |  Read More

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