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United States v. Fleet Factors Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
901 F.2d 1550 (1990)


In 1976, Fleet Factors Corporation (Fleet) (defendant) signed a factoring agreement with Swainsboro Print Works (SPW), a cloth-printing company, in which Fleet became SPW’s secured creditor and agreed to advance funds to SPW. In 1981, SPW went out of business, and Fleet stopped advancing funds. In 1982, Fleet foreclosed on its security interest in some of SPW’s inventory and contracted with Baldwin Industrial Liquidators to auction SPW’s collateral and with Nix Riggers to remove SPW’s unsold equipment. In 1984, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found 700 55-gallon drums and 44 truckloads of hazardous material at the facility. The EPA sued SPW’s officers and Fleet to recover nearly $400,000 in cleanup costs. Fleet moved the trial court for summary judgment, claiming that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act’s (CERCLA) exemption for secured creditors shields Fleet from liability. The trial court denied Fleet’s motion for summary judgment, and Fleet appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Kravitch, J.)

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