Spacelabs Healthcare Sued for Response Costs in Environmental Cleanup Case

A complaint was filed on Tuesday in the Central District of California by plaintiff Rocksy, LLC against defendant Spacelabs Healthcare, Inc. The complaint seeks recovery of response costs from the defendant under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and alleges that the defendant is responsible for expenses they incurred when responding to the hazardous substances released at the Site.

Plaintiff Rocksy is “engaged in the business of theatrical drapery manufacturing and show business studio services,” whereas defendant Spacelabs provides real time medical monitoring for NASA’s space program as well as medical technology to civilian healthcare facilities.

The complaint explains that the defendant is the successor to Spacelabs, Inc. “from the standpoint of traditional successor liability [and] from the standpoint of expanded CERCLA continuity of enterprise successor liability.” Rocksy further details that Spacelabs contributed to the spilling and leaking of hazardous substances throughout their operations from 1958 to 1965.

Rocksy asserts that since Spacelabs’ predecessor-in-interest was responsible for a portion of the Site, they are liable for costs under CERCLA. They contend that the defendant’s predecessor “stored, treated, and disposed of hazardous substances on at least that portion of the Site; and otherwise operated on at least that portion of the Site during the time that hazardous substances were disposed of there.”

Beginning in 2003, tests run by Smith-Emery Geoservices, Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., BA Environmental, and more revealed the extent of the damage at the site. In the interest of limiting further damage, the plaintiff explains that they “entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement with the [Department of Toxics Substances Control] and ever since has been proceeding to respond to Site contamination,” despite maintaining that they are not liable for the contaminations. In cleaning up the site, Rocksy explains that they incurred expenses of more than $75,000 to remediate the site.

The complaint maintains that the defendant is responsible for the costs incurred by the plaintiff. The complaint cites cost recovery under CERCLA and the California HSAA, private nuisance, public nuisance, negligence and negligence per se, unjust enrichment, and declaratory relief. The plaintiff is seeking response costs, a declaration of liability under CERCLA and California law, litigation costs, and any other relief deemed proper by the court.

The plaintiff is represented by Lewitt, Hackman, Shapiro, Marshall & Harlan.