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No PRP Left Behind: The Tenth Circuit Allows Non-settling PRPs to Intervene as of Right in CERCLA Consent Decree Actions

When potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) settle with the government over CERCLA response costs, the settling parties obtain immunity from any related contribution claims that might otherwise be brought against them. Because such settlements foreclose non-settling PRPs’ contribution rights under CERCLA, the non-settling PRPs often seek to intervene in the settlement actions to oppose the proposed consent decrees and prevent potentially inequitable cost allocations. The federal courts have struggled for decades to determine whether non-settling PRPs may intervene as of right in CERCLA consent decree actions between the government and settling PRPs. Historically, most courts have held that non-settling PRPs do not have a right to intervene in such cases. Read More.