Asarco LLC v. Goodwin, No. 13-3954 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Asarco appealed from the district court's dismissal of its Second Amended Complaint. As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court approved two settlement agreements related to the environmental contamination of the Everett Smelter and the Monte Cristo Mining area in Washington State. Asarco paid the United States as a result of those settlements and the Port of Everett $50.2 million for costs related to the remediation of the sites. Asarco then sought contribution, directly and as a purported subrogee, from the Trustees of the residuary trust created by the will of John D. Rockefeller Sr. in 1937. At issue was whether, in 2014, the Trustees may be made to contribute to cleanup costs of environmental contamination allegedly caused by corporations controlled by Rockefeller in Washington State between 1892 and 1903. Assuming arguendo that New York law permitted the imposition of liability on testamentary beneficiaries in this instance, the court concluded that the district court properly dismissed Asarco's contribution claims because they were barred by the applicable three-year statute of limitations, and its subrogation claims because Asarco was not a subrogee. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.