DITTER, District Judge.
In this action, the City of Philadelphia ("the City") seeks to recover clean-up costs and consequential damages which resulted from the illegal dumping on city property of industrial waste generated by the defendants. The suit is predicated upon numerous federal and state environmental statutes as well as several common law theories of recovery. Defendants have filed a comprehensive motion for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) asserting that the statutes upon which the City relies do not support its claim and that, as a matter of law, they cannot be held liable on any of the common law causes of action. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
"In considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the trial court is required to view the facts presented in the pleadings and the inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Chuy v. National Football League Players' Association, 495 F.Supp. 137, 138 (E.D.Pa.1980), quoting 5 C. Wright and A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1368, at 690 (1969). A review of the pleadings in light of this standard reveals the following factual setting. Defendants are a number of concerns which generate industrial waste as a byproduct of their operations. At various times, each defendant contracted with either Lightman Drum Company ("Lightman") or ABM Disposal Service Company ("ABM") to haul and dispose of the waste. During 1974 and 1975, ABM and Lightman illegally dumped the waste at a landfill on Enterprise Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia ("the Enterprise site") which was owned by the City and intended for use only by the City. Access to the Enterprise site was gained by bribing two City employees. The existence of substantial quantities of waste on the Enterprise site was discovered by City officials in 1979. Criminal convictions were obtained against the employees who accepted the bribes and against Lightman and its president, Jerome Lightman. Charges are pending against the president of ABM, Ellis Barnhouse, who is presently a fugitive.
The City alleges that as a result of this illegal dumping, the soil at the Enterprise site has been contaminated and the adjacent Delaware River and groundwater underlying the site have been polluted. This has obligated the City to commence a comprehensive clean up program having an estimated cost of $10 million. In addition, a sewage sludge recycling center which is scheduled to be built on the Enterprise site has been postponed indefinitely, a delay which will increase construction costs by about $20 million. The City filed a nine-count complaint seeking to recover $30 million in damages as well as civil penalties. The complaint sets forth the following claims for relief: (1) liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq. (CERCLA); (2) the citizen suit provision of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1365(a); (3) the federal common law of nuisance; (4) common law strict
COUNT I COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE, COMPENSATION AND LIABILITY ACT
The City's CERCLA claim is predicated upon the statute's liability provision, 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a).
However, that did not occur. Instead, the City, itself possibly subject to liability for governmental response costs, undertook the clean up and now contends that defendants are liable for its "necessary costs of response" under 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(B). It is this anomaly which gives rise to defendants' primary argument in seeking judgment on the City's CERCLA claim. They contend that the term "any other person" as used in 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(B) does not include a party which itself is subject to liability under the act. Although the statute's language does not explicitly support this construction, defendants assert that it is the only interpretation consistent with the act's structure and with the logical functioning of its many interrelated provisions. Specifically, they point to several inconsistencies in the administration of the act's funding provisions
Chief Justice Marshall's timeless observation that "[w]here the mind labors to discover the design of the legislature, it seizes everything from which aid can be derived ...." United States v. Fisher, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 358, 386, 2 L.Ed. 304 (1805), is particularly apt here. The statute itself is vague and its legislative history indefinite. However, nothing in the language of 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a) compels the result sought by defendants. The provision merely sets forth, in general terms, three categories of "persons" entitled to recover response costs from those parties designated as liable for such costs. The first category consists of the federal and state governments which are entitled to recoup "all costs of removal or remedial action ... not inconsistent with the national contingency plan." The provision in question, which follows immediately thereafter, permits recovery of "any other necessary costs of response incurred by any other person consistent with the national contingency plan." Under 42 U.S.C. § 9601(21) both federal and state governments are subsumed under the definition of person. In the context in which it appears, then, the term "any other person" is quite conceivably designed to refer to persons other than federal or state governments and not, as defendants argue, to persons other than those made responsible under the act. Thus, although not a model of clarity, the provision does not specifically exclude parties who may be liable for the costs of governmental action nor does its language necessarily support such a construction.
Although the legislative history does little to clarify this question, it does demonstrate that defendants' position cuts directly against CERCLA's objectives and the environmental concerns which prompted its enactment. CERCLA was originally proposed by its sponsors in both Houses as "a multi-faceted federal regulatory scheme designed to provide an independent basis for environmental claims by both government and private parties." Dore, The Standard of Civil Liability for Hazardous Waste Disposal Activity: Some Quirks of Superfund, 57 Notre Dame Lawyer 260, 267 (1981). What was enacted and signed into law is a severely diminished piece of compromise legislation from which a number of significant features were deleted.
Viewing the statute in this context, I cannot attribute to Congress an intention to preclude the City from maintaining a CERCLA action in this case. While the City is admittedly the owner of the Enterprise site, and might have been liable to the federal or state governments had those entities commenced the clean up,
Defendants advance two additional reasons for the dismissal of the City's CERCLA claim, neither of which has merit. First, they contend that because the City failed to aver that it made demand upon them at least 60 days before commencing suit as required by 42 U.S.C. § 9612(a),
Second, defendants assert that the complaint cannot allege the City's clean up operation is consistent with the National Contingency Plan as required by 42 U.S.C. 9607(a)(4)(B) and therefore the CERCLA claim cannot proceed. This argument is not advanced with a great deal of clarity. Plaintiff has averred that its clean up is consistent with the national contingency plan. See Second Amended Complaint ¶ 54. Defendants seem to argue that notwithstanding this averment, plaintiff's complaint must fail because it does not allege detailed compliance with various requirements of the proposed national contingency plan.
COUNT II CLEAN WATER ACT
The City predicates Count II of its complaint upon sections 311 and 505(a) of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1321 and 1365(a). Section 311(b)(3) prohibits the illegal discharge of oil or hazardous substances
The City alleges that defendants violated section 311 by discharging hazardous substances into the Delaware River and its adjoining shoreline and that section 505(a) provides it with an express right of action
"Section 505 evidences a congressional intent to carefully channel public participation in the enforcement of the Act." City of Evansville v. Kentucky Liquid Recycling, Inc., 604 F.2d 1008, 1015 (7th Cir. 1979) (footnote omitted), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1025, 100 S.Ct. 689, 62 L.Ed.2d 659 (1980). An examination of the language of this provision, as well as its legislative history, demonstrates conclusively that its sole purpose is to provide private parties with a mechanism to compel enforcement of effluent standards promulgated pursuant to the act.
That Congress did not intend to create such a right of action is amply borne out by section 505's legislative history. The Report of the Senate Committee on Public Works which accompanied Senate Bill S2770 makes clear that section 505 was not intended to authorize class actions or suits for damages:
S.Rep.No. 92-414, 92nd Cong., 1st Sess. 81, reprinted in 2 A Legislative History of the Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, 1415, 1499 (1973) (hereinafter "Legislative History") (emphasis supplied). Moreover, the House Report accompanying the House Amendments, H.R. 11896, was careful to note "[t]he [civil] penalties imposed would be deposited as miscellaneous receipts in the treasury and not be recovered by the citizen bringing the suit." H.R. Rep.92-911, 92nd Cong. 2d Sess. 133, reprinted in 1 Legislative History 753, 820 (1973) (emphasis supplied). Similar sentiments were expressed by individual legislators in debate. See, e.g., 1 Legislative History at 221 (remarks of Sen. Bayh). ("These sorts of citizen suits—in which a citizen can obtain an injunction but cannot obtain money damages for himself are a very useful additional tool in enforcing environmental protection laws.")
In view of these unequivocal expressions of legislative intent, it is clear that section 505(a) does not, expressly or by implication, support the assertion of a claim for damages. This assessment is not altered by the City's alleging a violation of section 311 and labelling the monetary relief it seeks as "costs of removal." However it chooses to characterize its remedy, the simple truth is that the City wants money and section 505(a) does not authorize such a claim. Defendants' motion for judgment on Count II of the complaint will be granted.
COUNT III FEDERAL COMMON LAW OF NUISANCE
Count III of plaintiff's complaint is based upon the federal common law of nuisance first sanctioned by the Supreme Court in Illinois v. City of Milwaukee, 406 U.S. 91, 92 S.Ct. 1385, 31 L.Ed.2d 712 (1972) (Milwaukee I). In City of Milwaukee v.
The City of Milwaukee litigation involved the discharge of inadequately treated sewage into Lake Michigan, an interstate waterway. In Milwaukee I, the Court, noting the absence of comprehensive federal regulation of interstate water pollution, held "[w]hen we deal with air or water in their ambient interstate aspects, there is a federal common law ...." 406 U.S. at 103, 92 S.Ct. at 1392. It thus created a federal common law right of action to abate a public nuisance in interstate waters. However, five months after Milwaukee I was decided, Congress comprehensively amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to establish an elaborate system for regulating the discharge of pollutants from point sources through the issuance of permits by EPA and the states. In Milwaukee II, the Court determined that the federal common law right of action established in Milwaukee I had been preempted by the comprehensive regulatory program created by the FWPCA amendments:
451 U.S. at 317, 101 S.Ct. at 1792. Two months later, the Court extended this holding to an action involving the pollution of coastal waters. See Middlesex County Sewerage Authority v. National Sea Clammers, supra.
The City attempts to avoid the effect of these holdings by characterizing its complaint as one for interstate groundwater pollution. Since Milwaukee II involved the pollution of interstate surface waters and Sea Clammers the pollution of coastal waters, it argues that neither decision necessarily requires the dismissal of a federal nuisance claim for groundwater pollution. The distinction suggested by the City is without merit. Fairly read, its complaint is premised upon the illegal disposal of hazardous waste. The pollution of the groundwater underlying the Enterprise site is but one element of the damage resulting from that illegal disposal. Thus, assuming there once existed a federal common law action for the abatement of such a condition,
Congress has occupied the hazardous waste disposal area by virtue of two comprehensive enactments. First, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq., which was enacted in 1976, established an extensive regulatory scheme governing the "cradle to grave" management of hazardous waste. "Its goal is to insure that hazardous waste is safely handled from the point of generation to the site of ultimate disposal, and that disposal facilities permanently contain the waste without risk to the environment." R. Zener, Guide to Federal Environmental Law at 166 (1981). Toward this end, the statute requires that permits be obtained for the
Second, Congress enacted CERCLA. CERCLA was designed to fill in some of RCRA's regulatory gaps "by requiring extensive reporting and recordkeeping for both present and former hazardous waste disposal sites." Dore, supra, 57 Notre Dame Lawyer at 268. As previously discussed, CERCLA also created a comprehensive system to finance the clean up of hazardous waste sites and has a civil liability provision designed to apportion the financial responsibility for clean up operations. It also mandates the revision of the national contingency plan to "establish procedures and standards for responding to releases of hazardous substances ...." 42 U.S.C. § 9605.
Unquestionably, Congress has occupied the field of hazardous waste disposal. In the RCRA it has comprehensively set forth the standards which are to govern every aspect of this activity from generation to disposal. In CERCLA, it has established a system of responding to releases or threatened releases from hazardous dumpsites, mandated the adoption of an extensive plan to govern such responses, and imposed a standard of strict liability on those parties involved in the disposal of hazardous waste. I can only concur in Judge Brotman's determination that "[t]he comprehensive nature of the schemes established by the RCRA and the CERCLA require [me] to conclude that, if federal common law ever governed this type of activity, it has since been preempted by those statutes." United States v. Price, 523 F.Supp. 1055, 1069 (D.N.J. 1981). See also United States v. Kin-Buc, Inc., 532 F.Supp. 699 (D.N.J.1982) (Clean Air Act preempts common law of nuisance as to air pollution). Accordingly, I will grant judgment in favor of defendants on Count III of the City's complaint.
COUNT V PENNSYLVANIA SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT ACT
Count V of the City's complaint is brought under section 401(b) of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act, 35 P.S. § 6018.401(b) which provides:
The complaint alleges that defendants engaged in "disposal" of hazardous waste within the meaning of this section. Second Amended Complaint ¶ 86. As used in the SWMA, disposal means "[t]he incineration, deposition, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, or placing of solid waste into or on the land or water in a manner that the solid waste or a constituent of the solid waste enters the environment, is emitted into the air or is discharged to the waters of the Commonwealth." 35 P.S. § 6018.103. Defendants contend that these provisions do not encompass an entity which generates the hazardous substances but contracts with a third party for their disposal.
Although the City avers, in conclusory fashion, that defendants disposed of hazardous waste within the meaning of the
The City attempts to avoid this result by contending that section 401 does not isolate discrete categories of waste handlers but, instead, focuses upon the overall process of waste management and therefore encompasses any party involved in this process. I cannot accept this assertion. Nothing in the language of section 401, or in the statute's definitions of its terms, supports the proposition that it is intended to include parties which generate hazardous waste but do not themselves dispose of it. Had the General Assembly intended such a result, it could have so provided by the inclusion of appropriate language. Indeed, an examination of other provisions of the SWMA demonstrates that when the Assembly intended to impose civil or criminal sanctions upon generators of hazardous waste who contract with others for its disposal, it did so in an unambiguous manner. See 35 P.S. § 6018.403(a) (making it unlawful for any person who "generates, transports or stores hazardous waste to transfer such waste" in violation of the Act); and 35 P.S. § 6018.610(8) (making it unlawful for any person to "[c]onsign, assign, sell, entrust, give or in any way transfer" hazardous waste which is subsequently dumped or stored in violation of the act). In view of these considerations, the Assembly's failure to incorporate similar provisions into section 401 is fatal to the City's contention.
Finally, the City argues that the SWMA is a remedial statute which must be construed liberally. However salutory this principle may be in the abstract, it cannot justify reading a provision into the statute in the absence of supporting language. See Township of Monroe v. Department of Environmental Resources, 16 Pa.Cmwlth.Ct. 579, 582, 328 A.2d 209, 211 (1974). (remedial environmental statute warrants "the broadest interpretation consistent with the express language of the statute ...."), 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1921(b) ("[w]hen the words of a statute are clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under the pretext of pursuing its spirit"). It may well be that the imposition of strict liability upon generators of hazardous waste who do not themselves dispose of it would be beneficial both for the environment
COUNT VI PENNSYLVANIA CLEAN STREAMS LAW
Count VI of the City's complaint seeks both damages and civil penalties and is predicated upon subsections (a) and (c) of 35 P.S. 691.601 which provide respectively:
Defendants posit two arguments in moving against this portion of the City's complaint. First they contend that these provisions support only a claim for injunctive relief and not one for damages. Second, they assert that the City has not pleaded a violation by defendants of the Clean Streams Law.
The statutory provisions upon which the City relies do not expressly authorize an action for damages. Rather, they permit only "suits to abate ... nuisances"; "suits to restrain or prevent any violation of this act," and civil actions "to compel compliance with this act." It is abundantly clear, then, that subsections (a) and (c) of section 601 contemplate only actions for the abatement of a public nuisance or, alternatively, an enforcement action brought by a party adversely affected by another's noncompliance with the statute. Where, as here, "legislation expressly provides a particular remedy or remedies, courts should not expand the coverage of the statute to subsume other remedies." Kroungold v. Triester, 407 F.Supp. 414, 420 (E.D.Pa.1975). In the absence of more explicit authorization from the General Assembly, I am not free to engraft an additional right of action upon statutory provisions which do not contemplate such a right.
The City attempts to circumvent this obstacle by asserting that "[t]he ability to obtain a monetary judgment in aid of abating a nuisance under the Clean Streams Law is well established in Pennsylvania." Brief of the City of Philadelphia at 26. The only authority cited for this proposition is Commonwealth v. Barnes & Tucker Co., 23
Finally, I must grant judgment in favor of defendants on the City's claim for civil penalties under CSL. The imposition of civil penalties is governed by 35 P.S. § 691.605 which provides that "[i]n addition to proceeding under any other remedy available at law or in equity for a violation of a provision of this act ... the department,
For all of the foregoing reasons, judgment will be entered in defendants favor on Count VI of the City's complaint.
COUNT VII COMMON LAW TRESPASS
In Count VII of its complaint, the City alleges that defendants "did intentionally, willfully, recklessly, negligently, and with wanton disregard for the consequences, trespass and cause others to trespass on City-owned property for the purpose of dumping defendants' hazardous wastes." Second Amended Complaint ¶ 103. Defendants contend that ABM and Lightman's entry onto the Enterprise site was not unlawful because the City's own employees accepted the bribes and permitted the dumping. Moreover, defendants argue that the complaint makes no allegation that they themselves entered upon the Enterprise site or authorized ABM and Lightman to do so. While I recognize the weakness of the City's case under the facts pleaded, I cannot conclude at this juncture that it has failed to allege a valid trespass claim. Accordingly, I will deny defendants' motion for judgment on this count.
Defendants' first argument is premised upon the well-established principle that a right of entry constitutes an absolute
Defendants' second argument is also unavailing. Section 427B of the Restatement (Second) of Torts (1965) provides:
Comment b elaborates upon the standard of liability set forth in this provision:
Admittedly, the City's complaint does not allege that defendants had reason to recognize the likelihood that ABM or Lightman would trespass upon the property of another in disposing of their waste. However, it does allege the physical act of trespass by the independent contractors and defendants' responsibility for that act. In light of these averments, the evidentiary link necessary to establish defendants' liability is a question of fact and, at this stage of the litigation, I am unwilling to foreclose the City's offering proof on this issue. Accordingly, defendants' motion for judgment on Count VII of the City's complaint will be denied.
COUNTS III (Common Law Nuisance), IV (Common Law Strict Liability) and VIII (Negligence)
The City's complaint contains several other Pennsylvania common law causes of action. Count III alleges that defendants created a public nuisance.
There is no question that the criminal conduct of the independent contractors and the City's own employees was a crucial link in the chain of events which led to the dumping of defendants' waste on City property. However, "[n]ot every intervening force is a superseding force." Ford v. Jeffries, 474 Pa. 588, 595, 379 A.2d 111, 114 (1977). The circumstances under which an actor may be held liable notwithstanding an intervening criminal act by a third person are set forth in Restatement (Second) of Torts § 448:
The question of a defendant's liability under these standards is almost invariably one of fact for the jury. Douglas W. Randall, Inc. v. AFA Protective Systems, Inc., 516 F.Supp. 1122, 1125 (E.D.Pa.1981); Anderson v. Bushong Pontiac Co., Inc., 404 Pa. 382, 391, 171 A.2d 771, 775 (1961).
Here, the City alleges that defendants were negligent in selecting ABM and Lightman as their waste disposal contractors particularly in view of the hazardous nature of the materials being generated. It may well be that the proper disposal of hazardous waste is an expensive undertaking thus inducing unscrupulous waste haulers to dispose illegally of such materials in order to reduce costs. Were this propensity known to defendants, such illegal conduct would unquestionably be within the scope of the risk created by the negligent hiring and supervision of ABM and Lightman and defendants would have had reason to foresee such an occurrence. On the other hand, the City's proof in this respect may be deficient. The important point is that this is not a matter which can be resolved on the face of plaintiff's complaint.
These same considerations govern the argument that the City was contributorily
COUNT IX THE PHILADELPHIA CODE
The City premises the final count of its complaint upon violations of several provisions of the Philadelphia Code.
It is well established that:
5 E. McQuillin, The Law of Municipal Corporations § 15.14 at 64 (3d ed. 1981). (footnotes omitted) The Philadelphia Code is penal in nature. It does no more than authorize the City to impose fines for violations and, if the fine is not paid within a certain time, to imprison the violator.
In summary, I have granted judgment for the defendants on the City's claims under the Clean Water Act, the federal common law of nuisance, the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act, the Clean Streams Law, and the Philadelphia Code. I will permit the City to pursue its claim for response costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and for damages on its state common law nuisance, trespass, strict liability, negligence claims.
Dore, supra, 57 Notre Dame Lawyer at 276. (footnotes omitted).
126 Cong.Rec. S14965 (daily ed. Nov. 24, 1980) (remarks of Sen. Randolph). Thus, the question of compliance with the national contingency plan appears to be related to the recovery of damages and not to the existence of a valid claim for relief.