Consolidation Coal Co. v. Georgia Power Co., No. 13-1603 (4th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
In the early 1980s, Georgia Power Company sold a number of its used electrical transformers to Ward Transformer Company (Ward). Because the electrical transformers contained toxic compounds that have been banned since 1979, Ward repaired and rebuilt the transformers for resale to meet third-party customers’ specifications. In the process, one of Ward’s facilities in Raleigh, North Carolina (the Ward Site) became contaminated. In the 2000s, the EPA initiated a costly removal action at the Ward Site. Consolidated Coal Company and PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. each paid more than $17 million in cleanup costs related to the Ward Site. In 2008 and 2009, they filed complaints under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act against Georgia Power alleging that, as supplier of some of the transformers to Ward, Georgia Power should be liable for a contribution to those costs. The district court granted summary judgment for Georgia Power. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the circumstances of the transformer sales did not indicate Georgia Power’s intent to dispose of the toxic compounds and therefore did not support arranger liability.