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DTSC’s Lien Procedure Found to Violate Due Process

In Van Horn v. Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”), a California Court of Appeal found that DTSC’s procedure for imposing liens on property under the California “Superfund” law violates due process of law....more

New York District Court Holds Lessee Not Liable Under CERCLA as an Owner

A New York federal district court recently held that a lessee will not be found liable under CERCLA as an owner where the lessee does not possess sufficient indicia of ownership. (Next Millennium Realty, LLC v. Adchem Corp.,...more

Condemnation and Contamination: The Spectre of Double Liability

Agencies acquiring private property for a public project conduct thorough investigations to determine whether the property has environmental contamination. If contamination is found, the question arises whether evidence of...more

CERCLA Cost Recovery v. Contribution Again: It’s Still Unfair

Parties in CERCLA cases continue to deal with the consequences of the Supreme Court decisions in Aviall and Atlantic Research which essentially created two classes of PRPs: (1) PRPs who entered into CERCLA settlements with...more

California Federal Court Dismisses CERCLA Claims and Strikes Request for Attorneys’ Fees

In N. Cal. River Watch v. Fluor Corp., __F.Supp.3d__, 2014 WL 4954638 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 2, 2014), a Northern California district court dismissed Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)...more

Uncertainty about the time limit for filing a groundwater contamination claim in North Carolina.

What is the latest date upon which a private plaintiff must file a claim for personal injury or property damage based on groundwater contamination in North Carolina? Until recently, the answer to this question appeared...more

New Jersey Landowner Forfeits Damages by Allowing Defendant to Remediate

In what may be a cautionary tale for owners of contaminated property, a New Jersey appellate court has ruled that a landowner forfeited any claim to property damages when he allowed the responsible party to perform...more

Texas High Court Finds Expert Opinion on Stigma Damages Too Speculative

Clarifying when expert testimony on alleged diminution in property value becomes legally sufficient to support a so-called “stigma” claim, the Texas Supreme Court struck down a $350,000 jury verdict based on environmental...more

New York Supreme Court Pro Rata Allocation for MGP Sites on Long Island Clarifies Self-Insured Periods

A New York State trial court judge applied a pro rata time on the risk allocation for pollution from manufactured gas plants on Long Island. Keyspan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.,Index No. 604715/1997,...more

Tenant Who Sublets A Superfund Site Is Not Likely To Be A CERCLA Liable Party

It is generally the rule that a lessee who does not operate the property it rents will not be liable under CERCLA except in the unusual circumstance where the lessee qualifies as an “owner” of the property. Typically, this...more

California's Eastern District: Government Agency Liable for Costs When Site Cleanup Is Mismanaged

In a ruling last month (California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Jim Dobbas, Inc., et al), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California held that the Department of Toxic Substances...more

No Need To Wait For NJDEP’s Approval When Seeking Contribution For Site Cleanups

Parties that find themselves responsible for the remediation of contaminated property in New Jersey do not have to wait for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to approve a final cleanup plan...more

CERCLA’s Three Year Statute of Limitations for Contribution Applies To Non-CERCLA Settlements

Parties which settle environmental liability in a judicially approved settlement have three years from the date of that settlement in which to seek contribution even if the settlement is not a CERCLA settlement. That is the...more

The Wait Is Over: Liable Parties Can Now Seek Early Contribution Claims Without New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection...

The recent Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling in Magic Petroleum v. Exxon Mobil demonstrates a trial court’s ability to allocate liability to “dischargers” while maintaining the role of the state’s Department of...more

If the Suit Fits: A Washington Court Clarifies Triggers for the Duty to Defend

Like many other federal and state environmental laws, Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) exposes property owners to strict liability, regardless of fault or intent, for certain types of environmental contamination. ...more

Recent Amendment Implements Important Changes to the Georgia Brownfield Program

Effective on July 1, House Bill 957 (2014) (the “Amendment”) amended the Georgia Brownfield Act, O.C.G.A. § 12-8-200 et seq. (the Act). The Amendment broadens applicability of the Act, expands the pool of eligible parties...more

Tuolumne Jobs Case

The California Supreme Court has just issued an opinion which may encourage the use of initiatives. At issue in the case was an initiative to adopt a specific plan to streamline approval for construction and operation of a...more

Importance of Judicial Approval of CERCLA Settlements

Before a Superfund settlement becomes enforceable, it must be reviewed by a federal court to confirm that it is fair, reasonable, and consistent with CERCLA’s objectives. This judicial review is at the heart of CERCLA’s...more

California Supreme Court Holds No CEQA Review Required for a Voter Initiative-Sponsored Ordinance

In a relatively short decision, the California Supreme Court held in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court of Tuolumne County (Tuolumne Jobs) that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not...more

The California Supreme Court Further Limits the Scope of CEQA Review for Voter-Sponsored Initiatives in Tuolumne Jobs & Small...

Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code requirements may be adopted directly by local governments without first conducting a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), according to...more

California Supreme Court Holds CEQA Inapplicable To City’s Adoption Of Qualified Voter Initiative Approving Wal-Mart “Supercenter”...

In a concise 15-page opinion filed August 7, 2014, the California Supreme Court reversed the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s judgment which had held that a city may not adopt a voter-sponsored initiative with potential...more

How Much Deference Do States Get in Entering CERCLA Consent Decrees? Probably A Lot, But Perhaps Not As Much as You Thought

In Cannons Engineering, the First Circuit Court of Appeals famously stated that, when CERCLA consent decrees arrive at the courts of appeal for review, they do so “encased in a double layer of swaddling,” because both the EPA...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects CERCLA Settlement, Declines to Give Deference to State Agency

On August 1, 2014, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s approval of a multi-party settlement at an Arizona waste site. State of Arizona v. Ashton Company Incorporated Contractors and Engineers, et...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Allows Early Contribution Claims Under the Spill Act

Parties sued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) for remediation now have an immediate right to seek contribution from other potentially responsible parties. Following last week’s unanimous ruling...more

Collateral Estoppel Bars Copy-Cat Environmental Plaintiff in New Case After Judgment

Roberson v. City of Rialto (4th Dist., Div. 2, 5/21/2014, E058187) - The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate to invalidate project approvals for the construction...more

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