Residential Real Estate Toxic Torts

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New York Federal Court Finds that CERCLA’s Petroleum Exclusion Covers Benzene Derived from Gasoline Degradation

In White Plains Housing Authority v. Getty Properties Corp., No. 13-cv-6282, 2014 WL 7183991 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2014), the district court applied the petroleum exclusion of the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

Arkansas Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Property Damage Suit

Exemplifying the reluctance of many courts to allow toxic tort cases to proceed as class actions, a federal judge in Arkansas denied certification of a putative class of neighboring landowners who claimed the Defendant’s...more

Virginia Court Nixes Claim Chinese Drywall Damage to HVAC Systems is Covered as Equipment Breakdown

In Travco Ins. Co. v. Ward, 284 Va. 547, 736 S.E.2d 321 (2012), the Virginia Supreme Court held that loss occasioned by the sulfuric gas released by defective Chinese drywall was excluded under the primary coverage grant of a...more

Designers, Contractors and Insurers Take Note: Recent Amendment to IL Statute of Repose Strips Asbestos Defense, Exposes Decades...

On December 19, 2014 the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois construction statute of repose to eliminate its protection in asbestos exposure cases (Public Act 098-1131). Beginning June 1, 2015, design professionals and...more

EPA Announces Final Rule Eliminating ASTM Phase I ESA Standard E1527-05 from CERCLA “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule”

On October 6, 2014, the EPA announced a final rule amending the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule” [40 CFR Part 312] (“AAI Rule”) for conducting environmental site investigations of potentially contaminated property....more

EPA's Concern Over TCE Vapor Intrusion Is Misguided

On July 9, 2014, the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Division in Region 9 issued a memo to staff setting an “operational framework” to address “inhalation exposures [to trichloroethylene] in...more

Federal Court Determines Low Levels of Carcinogens PCE and TCE Insufficient to Establish Private RCRA Cause of Action Absent...

Further underscoring the importance of expert testimony to support environmental claims, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Leese v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 11-5091 (JBS/AMD), 2014...more

EPA Proposes to Eliminate Dual Standard for “All Appropriate Inquires” under CERCLA

EPA Proposes Rule to eliminate the dual standard for compliance with the “All Appropriate Inquiries” requirement for the Innocent Purchaser, Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser and Contiguous Property Owner Defenses to CERCLA....more

The Complexity Associated with Setting Non-cancer Indoor Air Remediation Goals for Trichloroethylene Based on Short-term Exposure...

Over the last few years, there has been increasing consideration of vapor intrusion in groundwater investigations, groundwater remedy selection, periodic reviews of the continued safety of already implemented groundwater...more

EPA Proposes Change to Environmental Due Diligence Rule For Property Transactions

For the second time in a year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the “all appropriate inquiry” rule under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). ...more

EPA Proposes to Amend All Appropriate Inquiries Rule to Remove References to 2005 ASTM Standard for Phase 1 Assessments

Yesterday, the EPA published for comment notice of its intent to amend the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule,” 40 CFR part 312, to remove references to ASTM E1527-05 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase...more

EPA Proposes Elimination of ASTM Phase I ESA Standard E1527-05 from CERCLA All Appropriate Inquiries Rule

The EPA has announced a proposal to amend the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule” for conducting environmental site investigations of potentially contaminated property. The proposed amendment will eliminate ASTM E1527-05...more

CERCLA’s Statutory Liability Defenses — How Strict Is CERCLA Liability?

It was no surprise that the Second Circuit in In re September 11 Ligitation recently affirmed the lower court’s ruling that contamination caused by the 9/11 attacks was within CERCLA’s “Act of War” defense. Although CERCLA...more

Federal Court Rejects Homeowners’ Expert’s Valuation of Alleged Diminution in Value Due to Environmental Contamination

In a recent environmental contamination case, a New Jersey federal judge rejected an expert valuation of alleged diminution in value on Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993) grounds. In Leese, et al. v....more

Storing Heating Oil In Residential Tank Is Not An Abnormally Dangerous Activity In New Jersey

The Appellate Division recent held that the storage of home heating oil in an underground storage tank is not an abnormally dangerous activity. In Ross v. Lowitz, the plaintiffs, John and Pamela Ross, owned property that was...more

Seventh Circuit Rejects Class Action Alleging Groundwater Contamination From Refinery Because Homeowners’ Claims Lack Commonality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently reversed the certification of a class of property owners who alleged an Illinois refinery leaked potentially carcinogenic chemicals into their property and water...more

Governor Christie Signs Legislation to Extend Site Remediation Reform Act

On January 21, 2014 Governor Christie signed legislation that extends the Site Remediation Reform Act regarding the requirement for property owners with known contamination that occurred prior to 1999 to submit a Remedial...more

The New ASTM Phase I Standard

On December 30, 2013, a new standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (“Phase I”), known as E1527-13 Phase 1 Standard for Environmental Site Assessments (“2013 ASTM Standard”) was adopted by the Environmental...more

NJ Legislature Passes Bill to Extend May 2014 Remedial Investigation Deadline – Christie Expected to Sign

One of the most draconian aspects of NJ’s 2009 Site Remediation Reform Act is the authority of NJDEP to take direct oversight of older cleanups, stripping responsible parties of cleanup decision-making and requiring a trust...more

EPA Rule Adopts Revised ASTM Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard as Alternative Means to Conduct All Appropriate...

The United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule on December 30, 2013, endorsing ASTM E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process,” as an...more

New Phase I ESA Standard To Be Issued In November

New Standard Will Help Clarify Environmental and Historical Site Conditions For South Florida Developers - A new standard for performing Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) is expected to be released in...more

Six-Year Statute Of Limitations Applies To Spill Act Contribution Claims

In a stunning decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division held on August 23 that the State’s general six-year statute of limitations for property damage applies to private claims for contribution under the New Jersey Spill...more

The Seventh Circuit Still Wrong: Bernstein v. Bankert

Late last year I blogged on the dubious decision by the Seventh Circuit in Bernstein v. Blankert which held that a settling CERCLA party did not resolve its liability to the government until it had performed all of its...more

Absolute Pollution Exclusion Applies Indoors

In Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Wolters, et al., — N.W.2d –, 2013 WL 2363239 (Minn. May 31, 2013), the Minnesota Supreme Court joined the minority view in holding that the absolute pollution exclusion applies to...more

Which Is Worse? EPA Oversight or Citizen Oversight?

Everyone who represents PRPs in Superfund settlements has his or her own horror stories regarding the scope of EPA’s oversight cost claims. We all know that oversight costs can end up as an appreciable percentage of total...more

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