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No Establishing Who is a “Claimant” Sufficient to Pursue CERCLA Subrogation

by Christopher W. Smith
Morris Polich & Purdy LLP - Los Angeles Office

March 13, 2014

Previously published on March 5, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied certiorari on the Ninth Circuit’s CERCLA subrogation decision of Chubb Custom Ins. Co. v. Space Systems/Loral, Inc., 710 F.3d 946 (9th Cir. 2013), which held that an insurer must follow the specific requirements of CERCLA’s subrogation section to be able to pursue subrogation in CERCLA. Parties have begun applying the decision and attempting to use it as a defense to CERCLA subrogation claims. The first decision in the Ninth Circuit to apply Chubb Custom as a defense is the district court decision of Carolina Cas. Ins. Co. v. Oahu Air Conditioning Service, Inc., 2014 WL 309557 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 28, 2014). The results of that decision highlight one of the issues stemming from Chubb Custom, i.e., what constitutes a “claim for reimbursement” sufficient to establish the condition precedent to a CERCLA subrogation claim.


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