When Congress enacted the federal Superfund law in 1980, it provided that liability should be governed by evolving notions of common law. The Second Restatement of Torts was in effect at the time the law was passed and favored imposition of joint liability when two or more parties created a common harm. However, there has been a dramatic trend away from joint and several liability as reflected in the Third Restatement of Torts which was published in 2000. The underlying policy of the Third Restatement is that no party should be liable for harm it did not cause and that courts should only apply joint liability as a last resort.
With this backdrop, I recently published an article arguing that it is time for federal judges to apply the Third Restatement to CERCLA cases and bring CERCLA jurisprudence into the twenty-first century.