Court Holds Environmental Penalties Are Dischargeable In Bankruptcy
In an opinion issued on March 24, 2020, the District Court for the District of Delaware held that pre-petition environmental fines accrued by Exide Technologies were dischargeable debts in Exide’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case and that penalties that Exide accrued during the pendency of its bankruptcy case were not entitled to administrative priority. South Coast Air Quality Management District v. Exide Technologies, Civ. No. 19-891 (D. Del. March 24, 2020). The case suggests that environmental penalties assessed against a corporation, even if premised in part upon false reporting, may be dischargeable in a bankruptcy case and further, that additional penalties not based on cleanup costs during the bankruptcy will not receive special treatment by the courts.