United States v. Gen. Elec. Co., No. 11-1034 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
For 30 years, GE manufactured electric capacitors containing Pyranol, an insulation containing PCBs and stored scrap in drums. It sold the scrap to Fletcher, who used it as a paint additive. Fletcher purchased more than 200,000 gallons of GE's scrap Pyranol until 1967. After failing to pay for 14 shipments, Fletcher proposed that GE retrieve the drums. GE did not follow up. In 1987, EPA found hundreds of unmarked drums containing scrap Pyranol at the Fletcher Site. Several had leaked. EPA installed a temporary cap, added the site to the Superfund List, and sought to recover costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. 9607(a)(3). A 1994 consent decree stipulated that GE would pay costs incurred through April, 1993. GE did not concede liability. In 2006, the government sought recovery for post-1993 costs. The First Circuit affirmed the district court's entry of judgment for the government on "arranger" liability. GE was aware that Fletcher had drums that would not be used and made no effort to deal with it. The court also rejected a statute of limitations defense.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on March 8, 2012.