United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ST. EVE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
3, 2016, Plaintiff LCCS Group brought a Complaint against
numerous Defendants, including Defendant Lenz Oil Service
Peoria, Inc. (“Lenz Oil Peoria”), pursuant to
certain provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended,
42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.
(“CERCLA”). In particular, Plaintiff alleges that
there has been a release and/or threat of release of
hazardous substances from a facility known as the Lake
Calumet Cluster Site (“LCCS Site”) located in
Chicago, Illinois, and that these hazardous substances have
contaminated the soil and groundwater threatening the public
health and environment.
the Court is Defendant Lenz Oil Peoria's motion for
summary judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56(a). In its motion, Lenz Oil Peoria argues that
it is a separate corporate entity from Lenz Oil Service
Company, which is identified in the LCCS Site Records.
Plaintiff, on the other hand, asserts that Lenz Oil Peoria is
the legal successor to Lenz Oil Service Company. Because
Plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence raising a triable
issue of fact that Lenz Oil Peoria is the legal successor to
Lenz Oil Service Company, the Court denies Defendant's
motion for summary judgment.
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Lenz Oil Peoria did not follow the Northern District of
Illinois Local Rules when setting forth its own Rule 56.1
Statement of Facts and failed to respond to Plaintiff's
Local Rule Statement of Additional Facts pursuant to the
local rules. See Thornton v. M7 Aerospace LP, 796
F.3d 757, 769 (7th Cir. 2015) (“This court has
repeatedly held that the district court is within its
discretion to strictly enforce compliance with its local
rules regarding summary-judgment motions”). Because
Lenz Peoria did not respond to Plaintiff's Statement of
Additional Facts pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, Plaintiff's
statements are deemed admitted for purposes of this summary
judgment motion. See Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc.,
559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009) (“When a responding
party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in
the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by
the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the
motion.”); N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) (“All
material facts set forth in the statement required of the
moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless
controverted by the statement of the opposing party.”).
1947, Frederick John Lenz, Sr. founded Lenz Oil Service,
Inc., and Lenz Oil Service was incorporated on November 17,
1961. (R. 315-1, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Add'l Facts
¶ 1.) Until May 1979, Winston E. Lenz
(“Winston”) and Frederick John Lenz, Jr.
(“John”) (collectively, the “Lenz
Brothers”) were the principals of Lenz Oil Service.
(Id. ¶ 3.) Also, until May 1979, the Lenz
Brothers jointly operated Lenz Oil Service for oil and
solvent storage and treatment, as well as road surfacing,
with locations in both Lemont and Peoria, Illinois.
(Id. ¶ 4.) As of May 1, 1979, Winston owned 55%
of Lenz Oil Service shares and John owned 45%. (Id.
¶ 5.) On May 1, 1979, various interested parties entered
into an agreement under which Winston would continue the road
resurfacing business in Lemont and John would continue the
oil storage business in Peoria as a new company.
(Id. ¶ 6.) Part of this corporate restructuring
agreement involved third-party, Charles William Russell, who
bought out John's shares of Lenz Oil Service in late May
1979. (Id. ¶ 8.) On May 8, 1979, Lenz Oil
Peoria was incorporated as an Illinois corporation.
(Id. ¶ 11; R. 303, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt.
Facts ¶ 11.) Pursuant to the Agreement for Corporate
Separation, John eventually became the 100% shareholder of
Lenz Oil Peoria. (Id. ¶ 9.)
Oil Peoria was incorporated with a purpose to
“[c]ollect, purchase, acquire, process and sell waste
oil and related materials; sell, use, store and apply waste
oil, its by products, and related materials, surface roads
with asphalt, waste oil chips and related materials, and
related operations; and to do any and all things incident
thereto including, but not limited to, the acquisition and
holding of real estate.” (Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l
Facts ¶ 12) (citing Preorganization Subscription
Agreement & Lenz Oil Peoria Articles of Incorporation).
As sole director of Lenz Oil Peoria, John appointed his son,
Michael Lenz, to various positions within Lenz Oil Peoria.
(Id. ¶ 13.) Before Plaintiff filed this
lawsuit, Mike Lenz, as Secretary of Lenz Oil Peoria, wrote a
letter to Plaintiff's counsel dated November 24, 2015,
Lenz Oil Service Peoria, Inc. is based out of Peoria, IL. We
have never done any business with Chemical Incineration. We
have never been in the solvent disposal business. Lenz Oil
Service Peoria, Inc. has never been affiliated with the Lenz
Oil company from Lemont, IL listed on the invoices.
(Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 12; R. 303-1, LENZ 00010,
Site Records show that “Lenz Oil Service” in
Lemont, Illinois disposed of approximately 133, 200 gallons
of waste described as “solvents” starting on
March 22, 1979 - before Lenz Oil Peoria had been formed -
through July 13, 1979 - approximately six weeks after the
incorporation of Lenz Oil Peoria. (Id. ¶ 15.)
Lenz Oil Services filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 4,
1986. (Id. ¶ 21.)
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any material fact
exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In determining
summary judgment motions, “facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is
a ‘genuine' dispute as to those facts.”
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769,
167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment
has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d