Ninth Circuit Opinion Highlights Vapor Intrusion Risks and Challenges Faced by Brownfields Developers and Their Lenders

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A recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit illustrates the challenges faced by developers of contaminated properties and their lenders, as well as the extraordinary risks associated with sites impacted by dry cleaning solvents and other volatile chemicals that emit vapors that are capable of contaminating indoor air spaces.

Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square LLC, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15307 (9th Cir. 7/26/13), arose from the seepage of dry cleaning solvents at a Las Vegas shopping center. The PCE contamination was first reported to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) in 2000. In 2005, the shopping center was purchased for redevelopment by Maryland Square LLC, which bought the property with knowledge of the ongoing investigation. In 2006, Maryland Square demolished the buildings to prepare the site for redevelopment.

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