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Payback: Federal Circuit Requires Government to Reimburse under WWII-Era Indemnification Clauses

May 15, 2014

In Shell Oil Co. v. United States, No. 2013-5051, 2014 WL 1661493 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 28, 2014), the Federal Circuit held that the Government must indemnify WWII-era contractors for CERCLA costs incurred as a result of environmental damage arising out of certain contracts to provide aviation gasoline (avgas) required for the war effort, under the plain language of the "Taxes" clauses in the avgas contracts. The decision, which reversed the Court of Federal Claims (discussed here), may encourage other contractors to seek Government contract-based indemnification under similar contract provisions such as "hold harmless" clauses in facilities contracts cases (Ford and DuPont) and indemnification clauses authorized under Public Law 85-804 (also discussed here, here, and here).

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