Third Circuit Rejects Claim for Monetary Relief for Future Cleanup Costs

September 8, 2009
Client Alert Newsletter September 2009

In F.P. Woll & Co. v. Fifth & Mitchell St., Corp., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently held that a plaintiff seeking contribution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA") could not obtain a monetary award for future cleanup costs, where neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") nor the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") indicated that further remedial action was necessary or demanded payment from the plaintiff for future response costs. The Court found that declaratory relief, not monetary relief, was the appropriate remedy because it would ensure the plaintiff "prompt reimbursement of reasonable response costs incurred in the future," while protecting the defendants "from an excess judgment in the event further response costs were not incurred."