Mining Company Not Liable as Successor in Superfund Suit

By Peter Hayes

A limestone mining company won’t face superfund liability as the successor of another company because there was no overlap in ownership, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia ruled June 9 ( Dixon Lumber Co. v. Austinville Limestone Co. , 2017 BL 196075, W.D. Va., No. 7:16-cv-00130, 6/9/17 ).

A lumber company failed to show that its neighbor, Austinville Limestone Co., was a “mere continuation” of another mining firm that dumped mining waste on the property, the district court said.

Because there is “no identity of stock ownership” between ALC and the prior owner/operator, ALC isn't a mere continuation, the court said.

Gulf & Western Industries owned the site until 1982, during which time its subsidiary, New Jersey Zinc Co., operated the mine and disposed of waste at the site.

G&W sold the mine site to James River Limestone, which assigned it to its subsidiary, ALC, to operate.

Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon issued the opinion.

Polsinelli PC in St. Louis and McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond, Va., represent Dixon.

Christian & Barton, LLP in Richmond, Va., represents Austinville Limestone.

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