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Federal Court dismisses residents’ complaint related to NY Superfund site

Plaintiff-Appellants (“Residents”), who live near a waste disposal area known as “Wastebed 13” at the Onondaga Lake Superfund site, brought suit against Honeywell, alleging, among other things, state tort law claims. In affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the Residents’ Complaint, the Second Circuit found that 1) there was subject matter jurisdiction because “federal issues [existed] which [were] amenable to federal court resolution without interfering with the federal-state balance approved by Congress,” and 2) CERCLA preempted the Residents’ claims. The court found that the allegations of state tort law violations in the Complaint conflicted with the federally-enforced CERCLA remediation plan in Honeywell’s consent decree, and that it would be impossible for Honeywell to comply with both state tort law and the CERCLA consent decree. Under this conflict preemption analysis, the court found “that subjecting Honeywell to potential state tort law liability… would pose an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of Congress’s full purposes and objectives.”

Bartlett v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., No. 17-1907-CV, 2018 WL 2383534 (2d Cir. May 25, 2018).

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