District Court in Washington Affirms Parties Cannot Contractually Avoid CERCLA Liability to the U.S. Government

June 2023

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 3, Number 9

The U.S. Third District for the Western District of Washington recently rejected the Boeing Company’s (Boeing) motion to dismiss the U.S. Government’s (Government) case to recover costs for environmental remediation of the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in California. The Government brought suit against Boeing in April 2022 to recover costs to remediate groundwater contaminated with trichlorethylene (TCE) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Boeing attempted to avoid liability for the costs of cleanup at the 40-acre superfund site by arguing that a hold harmless agreement in a contract with the United States Navy and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) bars the action entirely.

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