Key Tronic Corporation v. United States

PETITIONER:Key Tronic Corporation
RESPONDENT:United States et al.
LOCATION:Residence of Margaret Gilleo

DOCKET NO.: 93-376
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1993-1994)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 511 US 809 (1994)
ARGUED: Mar 29, 1994
DECIDED: Jun 06, 1994

Lawrence G. Wallace – on behalf of the Respondents
Mark David Schneider – on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Key Tronic Corporation v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – March 29, 1994 in Key Tronic Corporation v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 06, 1994 in Key Tronic Corporation v. United States

John Paul Stevens:

The second case that I have to announce, Key Tronic Corporation against the United States, arises out of the dispute between two of the parties responsible for pollution of a landfill site in the State of Washington.

Both Key Tronic and the United States Air force dump liquid chemicals in the landfill.

In litigation with the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Key Tronic agreed to contribute over $4 million to the cost of cleaning up the site.

In this action, Key Tronic seeks to recover a significant portion of those costs from the United States Air Force because it was also partially responsible for the pollution.

The specific question we have to decide is whether in such an action one responsible party may recover its attorney’s fees from another.

The amount at issue is approximately $1.2 million for fees that covered three different types of services: First, the identification of other potentially responsible parties, including the Air Force, that was liable for the pollution; second, the preparation and negotiation of a settlement agreement with the EPA; and finally, that fees incurred in the prosecution of this litigation.

For reasons stated in an opinion filed with the Clerk, we hold that fees of the first of those three types of services are recoverable but the others are not.

Justice Scalia has filed an opinion dissenting in part in which he has joined by Justice Blackmun and Justice Thomas.