Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. Soo Line Railroad Co.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 19-3129
Decision Date: 
March 31, 2021
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.

Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendant-railroad's motion for summary judgment in plaintiff-railroad's action, seeking indemnification for environmental cleanup expenses associated with property that plaintiff had purchased from defendant, where both parties had entered into settlement agreement with third-party and EPA that called for both parties to share in payment of said costs. Language in purchase agreement called for plaintiff to pay all environmental costs associated with property if no claim to said costs had been lodged within 10 years of date of purchase, and record showed that neither third-party, EPA or state agency asserted "claim" (as that term is understood under Minnesota law) by filing lawsuit or initiating agency action within applicable 10-year period. Moreover, indemnification clause in purchase agreement covered all claims for environmental matters relating to defendant's ownership of property, and claims which instant parties settled with EPA and third-party all arose out of dumping waste on subject property or from other actions taken by defendant's predecessors in support of operation of defendant's railroad lines on said property. As such, plaintiff was responsible for all environmental costs contained in settlement agreement.