Municipal Landfill Cost Recovery
Our professionals were retained by a large PRP group to analyze a cost recovery claim in excess of $40 million arising from the closure and remediation of a major municipal landfill. In connection with the landfill closure, EPA designated the facility a Superfund site. The plaintiff, a large west coast municipality, was the landfill owner/operator.
Our analysis addressed the nature, timing and support for the costs claimed. In addition, based upon a detailed analysis of the costs of the closure/remediation activities and the relevant regulatory requirements, we were able to segregate the costs incurred to investigate and remediate hazardous waste contamination from the costs that were incurred as part of ordinary closure and decommissioning of the landfill.
Based on this analysis, counsel for our clients argued to the court that only the costs incurred to address hazardous waste contamination at the site could properly be recovered as response costs. Steve Ross provided expert testimony on our findings in deposition in United States District Court.
In what was a landmark decision, the court ruled that ordinary landfill closure costs could not be considered hazardous waste response costs for which our clients were liable. The case settled shortly thereafter.