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ASARCO, LLC v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
765 F.3d 999 (2014)


Facts

The Environmental Protection Agency found ASARCO, LLC (Asarco) (plaintiff) to be responsible for releasing mining waste into public waterways in northern Idaho. Asarco paid $482 million to the United States government as part of a settlement resolving Asarco’s liability. The court approved the settlement on June 5, 2009. Exactly three years later, Asarco brought a contribution claim against Union Pacific Railroad Company (Union Pacific) (defendant) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9675 (CERCLA), seeking reimbursement of a portion of the settlement payment. In its complaint, Asarco defined the land area covered under its reimbursement claim. Less than two months later, Asarco amended its complaint to include an additional tract of land that was explicitly excluded from the original complaint. Union Pacific filed a motion to dismiss the amendment, claiming that it was not filed within the three-year statute of limitations provided for under CERCLA. The district court found that the amendment related back to Asarco’s initial pleading, but granted Union Pacific’s motion to dismiss on other grounds. Asarco appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carney, J.)

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