Posted by: tommtn | March 22, 2013

Federal District Court Approves CERCLA Settlement for Stonehurst Site Defendants in Perchlorate Litigation

The Federal District Court, Central District of California, yesterday approved another CERCLA settlement in the long-running perchlorate litigation in the Rialto-Colton Basin, San Bernardino County, California, which we negotiated on behalf of our client, the County of San Bernardino.  The settlement concerns the B.F. Goodrich Superfund Site and other nearby properties, which are alleged sources of perchlorate and trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination to groundwater.  The settling defendants are persons or entities involved in the fireworks business, all of whom had a connection to a property known as the Stonehurst Site.  That property had been used for many decades in the manufacture and assembly of fireworks, and is an alleged source of contamination to groundwater.  Pursuant to the settlement, the settling defendants will pay $5.663 million, which will be split among the U.S. EPA and three local governments, including the County of San Bernardino.  No person or entity filed any challenges to the settlement and the Court approved the settlement without a hearing.

In a companion settlement with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Ana Region and State Water Resources Control Board, the settling defendants will install and maintain a cap on the Stonehurst Site and employ other institutional controls.

We represent the County of San Bernardino and negotiated the settlement to secure not only the installation of the remedial cap and institutional controls, but also payment to our client of a portion of the settlement proceeds.  This is the third judicially-approved settlement so far in this litigation, and the prior two settlements also involved our clients (the County and other clients).  Additional settlements in this case are expected to be finalized within the next several months, including settlements with the Emhart Corporation/Black and Decker, the Goodrich Corporation, and other parties, which should effectively bring to an end this very contentious and lengthy federal litigation.

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