First Valley Corporation built a building at 3550 Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose, California, in 1963. The building used asbestos for insulation and fire retardants. Barclays Bank of California (Barclays) (defendant) acquired title to the building after Barclays purchased First Valley’s assets and First Valley dissolved. 3550 Stevens Creek Associates (Stevens Creek) (plaintiff) bought the building from Barclays in 1984, then spent more than $100,000 on asbestos removal. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) provides, among other things, for private actors to recover costs for cleaning up hazardous waste sites from private actors that dumped toxic substances at these sites. Additionally, CERCLA established Superfund, a fund for hazardous-waste cleanup. Stevens Creek sued Barclays under CERCLA to recover its costs of removing asbestos from the building. The district court found in favor of Barclays. Stevens Creek appealed.