In November, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a granting of summary judgment by the District Court for the District of New Jersey. The Court of Appeals determined that the current property owner’s claim for contribution pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) was untimely because the statute of limitations for contribution claims begins to accrue when the party seeking contribution administratively settles its liability. That decision, Cranbury Brick Yard, LLC v. United States of America, fills one of the statutory gaps that exists in CERCLA.
The site in the case was a weapons manufacturing facility in Cranbury, New Jersey. During World War II and the Korean War, Unexcelled Manufacturing Co. manufactured bombs, anti-aircraft ammunition, grenade fuses, and other high-powered weapons for the U.S. Military. Following an investigation of the site by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), a directive identified several responsible parties, including the former owner of the site and the U.S. Navy.