KFC Western, Inc. (KFC) (plaintiff) bought a property from Alan and Margaret Meghrig (defendants). KFC discovered that the property was contaminated, and had to dispose of the contaminated dirt. KFC brought suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6972 (RCRA), seeking to recover the cleanup costs from the Meghrigs. The district court dismissed the suit, holding that the RCRA does not permit recovery of past cleanup costs. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.