Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., No. 94-CV-0694 (FB).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Writing for the CourtBlock
Citation987 F.Supp. 182
PartiesTOWN OF OYSTER BAY, Plaintiff, v. OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION, The Marmon Corporation, Columbia Corrugated Container Corporation, Great American Industries, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of PLC Enterprises, Inc., G.A. Corrugated Corporation Great American Corrugated Container Corporation, Lin Pac, Inc., Lin Pac Containers International, Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lin Pac Group, Ltd., Lin Pac Corrugated Containers Corporation, Lin Pac Containers Limited, Grumman Corporation, Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Jakobson Shipyard, Inc., Long Island Lighting Company, Konica Imaging U.S.A., Inc., Kollmorgen Corporation and Photocircuits Corporation, Defendants.
Decision Date05 December 1997
Docket NumberNo. 94-CV-0694 (FB).
987 F.Supp. 182
TOWN OF OYSTER BAY, Plaintiff,
v.
OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION, The Marmon Corporation, Columbia Corrugated Container Corporation, Great American Industries, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of PLC Enterprises, Inc., G.A. Corrugated Corporation Great American Corrugated Container Corporation, Lin Pac, Inc., Lin Pac Containers International, Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lin Pac Group, Ltd., Lin Pac Corrugated Containers Corporation, Lin Pac Containers Limited, Grumman Corporation, Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Jakobson Shipyard, Inc., Long Island Lighting Company, Konica Imaging U.S.A., Inc., Kollmorgen Corporation and Photocircuits Corporation, Defendants.
No. 94-CV-0694 (FB).
United States District Court, E.D. New York.
December 5, 1997.

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Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman LLP by Peter R. Paden, Philip E. Karmel, New York, NY, for Plaintiff Town of Oyster Bay.

Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna by John Hanna, Albany, NY, for Defendant Occidental Chemical Corporation.

Lowenstein, Sandler, Kohl, Fisher & Boylan by Richard F. Ricci, Roseland, NJ, for Defendant The Marmon Corp.

Levene, Gouldin & Thompson by Michael R. Wright, Vestal, NY, for Great American

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Industries, Inc., G.A. Corrugated Corp, Great American Corrugated Container Corp.

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker by Kevin C. Logue, New York, NY; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker by Charles A. Patrizia, for Defendants Lin Pac, Inc., Lin Pac Containers International, Ltd., Lin Pac Corrugated Containers Corp., Lin Pac Containers Ltd.

Hannoch Weisman, P.C. by Irvin M. Freilich, Roseland, NJ, for Defendants Grumman Corporation, Grumman Aerospace Corporation.

White & Case by Paul Milmed, New York, NY, for Defendant Jakobson Shipyard, Inc.

Arnold & Porter by Michael B. Gerrard, New York, NY, for Defendant Long Island Lighting Co.

David R. Case, Washington, D.C., for Defendant Konica Imaging, U.S.A., Inc.

Crowell & Moring, by Robert C. Davis, Jr., Washington, DC; Kensington & Ressler, P.C. by Henry Korn, New York, NY, for Defendants Kollmorgen Corporation, Photocircuits Corporation.

 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 INTRODUCTION ............................................................. 188
                 BACKGROUND ............................................................... 188
                 I. The Landfill ........................................................ 188
                 II. The Groundwater Contamination and the Town's Response ............... 189
                 III. The Complaint ....................................................... 189
                 IV. The Target Defendants ............................................... 190
                 A. Occidental ....................................................... 190
                 B. Marmon ........................................................... 190
                 C. Grumman .......................................................... 191
                 D. GACCC ............................................................ 191
                 V. The Pending Motions ................................................. 191
                 A. The Town's Motion for Summary Judgment ........................... 191
                 B. The Great American Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment ....... 192
                 C. The Lin Pac Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment .............. 192
                 D. Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment .................. 192
                 DISCUSSION ............................................................... 193
                 I. The Standard on a Motion for Summary Judgment ....................... 193
                 II. The CERCLA Liability of the Target Defendants ....................... 193
                 A. General Principles Regarding CERCLA Liability .................... 193
                 B. The CERCLA Liability of Target Defendants Occidental, Marmon and
                 Grumman .......................................................... 194
                 1. Causation ..................................................... 194
                 2. The Interplay between New York State Regulatory Requirements and
                 CERCLA ........................................................ 195
                 3. Conclusion .................................................... 197
                 C. The CERCLA Liability of the Great American Defendants ............ 197
                 1. Did Columbia Deposit Hazardous Substances at the Landfill? .... 198
                 2. Are GACCC and G.A. Corrugated, as "dead and buried" corporations,
                 subject to suit under CERCLA? ................................. 198
                 3. Can GAI be held liable for Columbia's Waste disposal practices
                 under a veil-piercing analysis? ............................... 202
                 4. Conclusion .................................................... 204
                 III. The Successor Liability of the Lin Pac Defendants ................... 204
                 IV. Joint and Several Liability v. Contribution ......................... 207
                 V. The Town's State Law Claims ......................................... 209
                 A. Statute of Limitations ........................................... 209
                 B. The Liability of GACCC and G.A. Corrugated under State Law ....... 210
                 C. The Liability of the Lin Pac Defendants under State Law ........... 211
                 CONCLUSION ............................................................... 211
                

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BLOCK, District Judge.


INTRODUCTION

In this action, which arises under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq. ("CERCLA" or "the Act"), and New York common law, plaintiff Town of Oyster Bay ("Town") seeks recovery of costs for its response to the alleged release or threatened release of hazardous substances at a landfill formerly operated by the Town in Syosset, New York. The defendants are corporations that are alleged either to have brought hazardous materials to the landfill or to have succeeded to the liabilities of such corporations.

There are four motions currently before the Court: (1) a motion by the Town for partial summary judgment on the issue of CERCLA liability against defendants Occidental Chemical Corporation ("Occidental"), The Marmon Corporation ("Marmon"), Great American Corrugated Container Corporation ("GACCC"), Grumman Corporation and Grumman Aerospace Corporation (collectively "Grumman") pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure1; (2) a motion for summary judgment by defendants GACCC, G.A. Corrugated Corporation ("G.A. Corrugated") and Great American Industries, Inc. ("GAI") seeking dismissal of the complaint as against them;2 (3) a motion by defendants Lin Pac, Inc., Lin Pac Containers International, Ltd., Lin Pac Corrugated Containers Corporation ("LPCCC"), and Lin Pac Containers Limited (collectively the "Lin Pac defendants") for summary judgment dismissing the complaint as against them; and (4) a motion by Occidental, Marmon, the Great American defendants, the Lin Pac defendants, Grumman, Jakobson Shipyard, Inc. ("Jakobson"), Long Island Lighting Company ("LILCO"), Konica Imaging, U.S.A., Inc. ("Konica"), Kollmorgen Corporation ("Kollmorgen"), and Photocircuits Corporation ("Photocircuits") for partial summary judgment dismissing the Town's CERCLA claims to the extent that they seek joint and several liability against the defendants, and dismissing the Town's State common law nuisance and unjust enrichment claims on statute of limitations grounds.

BACKGROUND

The Court's discussion of the facts giving rise to this action is drawn from the complaint, the numerous statements prepared by the parties pursuant to former Local Rule 3(g), now Local Rule 56.1, and the extensive record in this case. Unless otherwise noted, the facts are undisputed.

I. The Landfill

The approximately 35-acre former landfill is owned by the Town and is located just north of the Long Island Expressway in Syosset, within 1.25 miles of more than one thousand residences and less than 150 feet from a local elementary school. From 1936 until approximately 1975, the landfill, which was unlined, accepted residential and commercial waste, including cesspool waste, as well as demolition, agricultural and industrial waste. The complaint alleges, inter alia, that: (1) Occidental's predecessors-in-interest, Rubber Corporation of America ("RUCO"), Hooker Chemical Corporation and Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corporation (collectively "Hooker") disposed of thousands of tons of hazardous wastes containing heavy metals, solvents, organics, oils and sludges, plasticizers and PCBs each year between 1946 through 1968; (2) Marmon's predecessor-in-interest, Cerro Wire & Cable Corp. ("Cerro"), disposed of thousands of tons of industrial sludge containing iron, chromium, zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, and nickel each year for a period of 25 years; (3) Columbia Corrugated Container Company ("Columbia"), the alleged predecessor-in-interest

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of the Great American defendants and the Lin Pac defendants, disposed of more than 100,000 gallons of dyes, inks, and sludges containing iron, zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium, titanium, manganese, magnesium and phenols for a period of many years ending in 1975; and (4) Grumman disposed of industrial sludge containing hydroxides of chromium, aluminum, iron, paint, ammunition, machine shop waste, and wastes from manufacturing processes.

II. The Groundwater Contamination and the Town's Response

On January 28, 1975, the Nassau County Department of Health ("NCDOH") closed the landfill based on concerns that it was polluting the groundwater. In 1983, an environmental report was prepared on behalf of NCDOH that indicated that the groundwater underneath and surrounding the landfill contained concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium and lead at levels in excess of New York State drinking water standards. Also in 1983, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") placed the landfill on the Superfund National Priorities List, which sets forth those sites that pose the highest degree of risk to human health and the environment. The landfill has also been placed on New York's Registry of...

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19 practice notes
  • Mindspirit, LLC v. Evalueserve Ltd., 15 Civ. 6065 (PGG)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 30 September 2018
    ...demands to transfer shares" after the 2009 reintroduction of the transfer restrictions); Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 987 F.Supp. 182, 210 (E.D.N.Y. 1997) (town sought to recover costs arising out of its response to release or threatened release of hazardous substances from......
  • Incorporated Vil. of Garden City v. Genesco, Inc., No. 07-CV-5244 (JFB)(ETB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 27 January 2009
    ...LLC, 2007 WL 2362144, at *15 (date of discovery of contamination was date of injury); Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 987 F.Supp. 182, 209 (E.D.N.Y.1997) ("As discovery of the harm triggers the running of the statute of limitations under New York law, the Court looks to when t......
  • State v. West Side Corp.., No. 07–CV–4231 ENV ALC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 3 June 2011
    ...commencement of legal proceedings.” Next Millennium I, 2007 WL 2362144, at *15 (quoting Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 987 F.Supp. 182, 209–10 (E.D.N.Y.1997)). In contradistinction, the damages that plaintiffs seek to recover for their own cleanup efforts in the past simply c......
  • Cargo Partner Ag v. Albatrans Inc., No. 01CIV.2609(DAB)(DFE).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 13 March 2002
    ...Graphics court also ruled that all of these factors `must' be satisfied."); Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corporation, 987 F.Supp. 182, 205 (E.D.N.Y.1997) (Block, J.) ("Courts have not been willing to overlook the identity of shareholders requirement and have consistently refuse......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Mindspirit, LLC v. Evalueserve Ltd., 15 Civ. 6065 (PGG)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 30 September 2018
    ...demands to transfer shares" after the 2009 reintroduction of the transfer restrictions); Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 987 F.Supp. 182, 210 (E.D.N.Y. 1997) (town sought to recover costs arising out of its response to release or threatened release of hazardous substances from......
  • Incorporated Vil. of Garden City v. Genesco, Inc., No. 07-CV-5244 (JFB)(ETB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 27 January 2009
    ...LLC, 2007 WL 2362144, at *15 (date of discovery of contamination was date of injury); Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 987 F.Supp. 182, 209 (E.D.N.Y.1997) ("As discovery of the harm triggers the running of the statute of limitations under New York law, the Court looks to when t......
  • State v. West Side Corp.., No. 07–CV–4231 ENV ALC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 3 June 2011
    ...commencement of legal proceedings.” Next Millennium I, 2007 WL 2362144, at *15 (quoting Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chem. Corp., 987 F.Supp. 182, 209–10 (E.D.N.Y.1997)). In contradistinction, the damages that plaintiffs seek to recover for their own cleanup efforts in the past simply c......
  • Cargo Partner Ag v. Albatrans Inc., No. 01CIV.2609(DAB)(DFE).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 13 March 2002
    ...Graphics court also ruled that all of these factors `must' be satisfied."); Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corporation, 987 F.Supp. 182, 205 (E.D.N.Y.1997) (Block, J.) ("Courts have not been willing to overlook the identity of shareholders requirement and have consistently refuse......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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