John W. Chapman


In this Note, the author analyzes the Supreme Court's recent decision of United States v. Bestfoods determining parent corporation liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). After a brief overview of CERCLA's goals and liability scheme, the author explores in depth the different methods federal circuit courts have used in determine the liability of a parent corporation for the environmental harms of a wholly owned subsidiary. Noting the deep divide between the circuits, the author dissects the Supreme Court's decision in Bestfoods, starting with the trial court up through appeal to the Supreme Court. The author concludes by arguing that the Supreme Court should have taken the opportunity to adopt a federal common law piercing the corporate veil standard that would be more in line with the aims of CERCLA.