Key Tronic Corp. v. United States, 511 U.S. 809, 10 (1994)

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Opinion of the Court

Stat. 1615.10 Key Tronic contends that a private action under 107 is one of the enforcement activities covered by that definition and that fees should therefore be available in private litigation as well as in government actions.

For three reasons, we are unpersuaded. First, although 107 unquestionably provides a cause of action for private parties to seek recovery of cleanup costs, that cause of action is not explicitly set out in the text of the statute.11 To conclude that a provision that only impliedly authorizes suit nonetheless provides for attorney's fees with the clarity required by Alyeska would be unusual if not unprecedented. Indeed, none of our cases has authorized fee awards to prevailing parties in such circumstances.

Second, Congress included two express provisions for fee awards in SARA without including a similar provision in either 113, which expressly authorizes contribution claims, or in 107, which impliedly authorizes private parties to recover cleanup costs from other PRP's. These omissions

10 According to the House Committee Report on this amendment, 101(25)'s modification of the definition of "response action" to include related enforcement activities "will confirm the EPA's authority to recover costs for enforcement actions taken against responsible parties." H. R. Rep. No. 99-253, pp. 66-67 (1985).

11 Justice Scalia correctly notes that "to say that A shall be liable to B is the express creation of a right of action." Post, at 822. Section 107, however, merely says that "A shall be liable" without revealing to whom A is liable. Sections 104 and 106 plainly indicate that the parties described in 107 are liable to the Government. The statute thus expressly identifies the Government as a potential plaintiff and only impliedly identifies private parties as the hypothetical B in 107 litigation. That 107 imposes liability on A for costs incurred "by any other person" implies— but does not expressly command—that A may have a claim for contribution against those treated as joint tortfeasors. Cf. Texas Industries, Inc. v. Radcliff Materials, Inc., 451 U. S. 630, 639-640 (1981) (finding no implied right to contribution from other participants in conspiracy violative of antitrust laws); Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Transport Workers, 451 U. S. 77, 91-95 (1981) (finding no implied right to contribution under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

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