Ford v. Edgewood Properties, Inc. - RICO and Conspiracy Claims Against Environmental Consultant Survive MSJ
In the Ford Motor Company v. Edgewood Properties, Inc., Case 2:06-cv-01278-ES-CLW (USDC NJ 8/31/12) case, Civil Conspiracy, New Jersey RICO, New Jersey Spill Act, Negligence and CERCLA claims filed against an environmental consulting company survived summary judgment in an unpublished opinion. Under the facts of the case, the consulting company was hired by Ford Motor Company to provide environmental consulting services in connection with the demolition of a Ford assembly plant in Edison, New Jersey and the distribution of concrete from the site to Edgewood. The concrete was later determined to be contaminated with PCBs. In denying the defendant consulting company's motion for summary judgment the federal district court found genuine issues of material fact existed, precluding judgment as a matter of law because as the court stated:
It is unclear to what extent Arcadis was involved in the supervision of off-site distribution of contaminated concrete; the extent to which Arcadis participated in the daily site meetings in which potential recipients—including Edgewood—were discussed; the extent to which Arcadis was involved in walking and talking with prospective recipients on the Edison Site when suitability was discussed; and the extent to which Arcadis knowingly or purposefully enabled the off-site distribution of contaminated concrete to parties like Edgewood who wanted concrete in compliance with the standards set forth by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”). What is clear is that Edgewood and its fellow opponents have satisfied their burden on summary judgment of raising genuine disputes of material fact as to each of these issues, pointing to specific facts in the voluminous summary judgment record for support. See Ford Motor Company v. Edgewood Properties, Inc., Case 2:06-cv-01278-ES-CLW, 2-3 (USDC NJ 8/31/12).
While all claims survived summary judgment, it is especially interesting that the Civil Conspiracy and New Jersey RICO claims survived summary judgment, since those claims appear to have been based on facts typically within the scope of general environmental consulting work. The appellate path of this case should be followed closely. Moreover, the case should be considered by companies offering environmental consulting and related services, as well as those who utilize such services.
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