Key Tronic Corp. v. United States, 511 U.S. 809, 4 (1994)

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Opinion of the Court

party that has resolved its liability to the United States shall not be liable for contribution claims regarding matters addressed in the settlement.1

Key Tronic thereafter brought this action against the United States and other parties seeking to recover part of its $4.2 million commitment to the EPA in a contribution claim under CERCLA 113(f), 42 U. S. C. 9613(f), and seeking an additional $1.2 million for response costs that it incurred before the settlements in a cost recovery claim under CERCLA 107(a)(4)(B), 42 U. S. C. 9607(a)(4)(B). The $1.2 million included attorney's fees for three types of legal services: (1) the identification of other potentially responsible parties (PRP's), including the Air Force, that were liable for the cleanup; (2) preparation and negotiation of its agreement with the EPA; and (3) the prosecution of this litigation.2

The District Court dismissed Key Tronic's $4.2 million contribution claim against the Air Force when Key Tronic conceded that 122(g)(5) precluded it from recovering any part of the consent decree obligation.3 Key Tronic's claim for $1.2 million of additional response costs could be pursued under CERCLA 107(a)(4)(B), 42 U. S. C. 9607, the court held, because it related to matters not covered by the Air

1 See Administrative Order on Consent and Interagency Agreement ¶ 8, p. 12 (Record, Doc. No. 23, Exh. 1). Paragraph 7(a) of that agreement defines the term "Covered Matters" to include "any and all civil liability for reimbursement of response costs or for injunctive relief pursuant to sections 106 or 107(a) of CERCLA, 42 U. S. C. 9606 or 9607(a), or section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended, 42 U. S. C. 6973, with regard to the Site."

2 Key Tronic also sought prejudgment interest against the United States. The District Court awarded such interest, and the Air Force did not appeal that award. Other payments the Air Force made to Key Tronic are not in dispute.

3 The statutory bar protected only the Air Force from liability. Key Tronic's claim against another defendant, Alumax Fabricated Products, Inc., and Alumax Mill Products, Inc. (collectively Alumax), was deemed moot when the two parties settled. 766 F. Supp. 865, 867-868 (ED Wash. 1991).

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