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United States v. Apex Oil Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
579 F.3d 734 (7th Cir. 2009)


Apex Oil Co. (Apex) (defendant) successfully reorganized under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The bankruptcy court confirmed Apex’s plan, resulting in a discharge of its preconfirmation debt. The United States (plaintiff) sued Apex in federal district court pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCCA), seeking an injunction compelling Apex to clean up a site contaminated by a corporate predecessor. After a bench trial, the district judge found Apex responsible for cleanup and ordered it to do so. Because Apex lacked the capacity to remediate the site using in-house resources, its compliance with the judicial order would necessitate the hiring of an outside firm at an estimated cost of $150 million. Apex appealed the district court decision, arguing that the government’s claim against it had been discharged in bankruptcy.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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