principles of contribution in actions between private parties.
In their respective attempts to persuade the court on this point, the parties on both sides of the issue point to Lyncott Corp. v. Chemical Waste Management, Inc., 690 F. Supp. 1409, 1417-19 (E.D. Pa. 1988). The court in Lyncott held that a settling party in a private party CERCLA action was protected from nonsettling parties' actions for contribution. On one hand, Amland and Alcoa point to the court's invocation of CERCLA's policy of encouraging settlements and its willingness to extend the statutory protection against contribution afforded to persons settling with the government--federal or state--under CERCLA section 113(f)(2), 42 U.S.C. § 9613(f)(2), to persons settling in private party actions. On the other hand, the third-party defendants note that the court sought guidance from model acts and the Restatement where CERCLA was silent on contribution as between private parties, looking primarily to the Uniform Comparative Fault Act, finding that Act most consistent with CERCLA. Indeed, the third-party defendants cite a litany of cases in which courts have looked not only to the Uniform Comparative Fault Act, but also to the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 886A and the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, all of which dictate that no right of contribution exists for a settling joint tortfeasor unless the settlement extinguishes the liability of the party from whom contribution is sought.
Lyncott is distinguishable in several important respects. First, and most obvious, the question at bar in Lyncott, i.e. whether a settling party is protected against contribution, is different from the question here, i.e. whether and under what circumstances a settling party may itself seek contribution. Second, while the Restatement, the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, and the Uniform Comparative Fault Act all differed somewhat in their provisions regarding the contribution protection question presented in Lyncott, the uniform acts and Restatement are all in accord with respect to the requirement that a settling party must have bought the peace of a party from whom it seeks contribution. Thus, where the Lyncott court was left to choose among these statutory guideposts, this court is faced with a choice of whether to follow the model acts or disavow them in favor of Amland and Alcoa's speculative arguments regarding congressional intent. Finally, Lyncott's emphasis on encouraging settlements and finality in CERCLA litigation is not lost on this court. Although a party able to seek contribution from other parties without extinguishing other potential claims against them may be more likely to settle, such settlements do not add finality to already complex CERCLA actions. Rather, if this case is any indication of the evils of such a rule, such settlements could spawn even more litigation, as parties scramble to redistribute liability in any number of directions perhaps in response to adverse rulings. Thus, even apart from the telling congressional silence on this point, the more general policy considerations behind CERCLA mandate adoption of the common law rule that a settling party must have extinguished the liability of a party before seeking contribution from that party. Because Alcoa has not done this, its CERCLA contribution claims against Citibank and Edgewater are barred.
To summarize the court's holdings, Amland's motion for leave to file a Rule 14(a) complaint bringing direct claims against the third-party defendants is denied, inasmuch as such claims are time barred as a matter of law.
In addition, the motions of Monsanto, Citibank, and Edgewater Associates for summary judgment on Alcoa's common law indemnification and CERCLA contribution claims are granted. Counsel for Citibank, Edgewater Associates, and Monsanto are to agree upon an order reflecting this decision and submit same to the court within fourteen days of this date. Upon the filing of that order, the parties are directed to schedule a conference with Magistrate Judge Chesler for purposes of resolving who and what--if anybody or anything--is left of this matter.
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY
DATED: December 21, 1992