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Westwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
964 F.2d 85 (2d Cir. 1992)


Westwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Westwood) (plaintiff) bought land from National Fuel Gas Distribution Company (National) (defendant). Iroquois Gas Corporation (Iroquois) had sold the land to National under a land-sales contract. After discovering contaminants in the soil, Westwood brought suit against National to recover cleanup costs. National asserted the third-party defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. § 9607(b)(3), claiming that Iroquois was responsible for the contamination and cleanup costs. Under CERCLA, a defendant was not liable for contamination caused by the act or omission of a third party other than “one whose act or omission occur[ed] in connection with a contractual relationship” with the defendant. Westwood filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that because National had a contractual relationship with Iroquois, National could not maintain the third-party defense under CERCLA. The district court denied Westwood’s motion for summary judgment. Westwood appealed.

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