Does CERCLA permit a party to recover its cleanup costs?

Yes.  Section 107(a), one of CERCLA’s key provisions, permits both government and private plaintiffs to recover from responsible parties the costs incurred in cleaning up and responding to hazardous substances at those sites.

Due to the complexity of CERCLA lawsuits, which often involve multiple defendants and difficult remedial questions, courts oftentimes bifurcate the liability and remedial, or damages, phases of the cases.   In doing so, disputed factual and legal issues pertaining only to liability are resolved before deciding the more complicated and technical questions of appropriate cleanup measures and proportionate fault of liable parties.

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