Contaminated Properties

News & Analysis as of

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Unanimously: There is No Statute of Limitations Defense to Contribution Actions Under the Spill Act

On January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co. that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property does not apply to contribution claims...more

Missouri Federal Court Cuts Claims in Pipeline Property Damage Action

Underscoring the need for plaintiffs to show concrete proof of harm in suits alleging property damage, a federal district court dismissed a suit alleging that an oil pipeline contaminated farmland in Missouri. See Henke v....more

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Majority of Water Well Contamination Claims Against Oil Drilling Company

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Middle District of Pennsylvania completely adopted the “extremely thorough, well-reasoned” recommendations of a U.S. Magistrate Judge and dismissed almost all...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

Fifth Circuit Relieves Company of "Arranger" Liability under CERCLA

In Vine Street LLC v. Borg Warner Corp., No. 07-40440, the Fifth Circuit held that, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), BorgWarner...more

Environmental Contamination Can Significantly Impact the Merits of a Property Tax Appeal

The New Jersey Tax Court recently ruled in Methode Electronics, Inc. v. Twp. Of Willingboro, Docket Nos. 019012-2010 and 014098-2011 (Tax January 22, 2015) that the assessment on contaminated property located in Willingboro,...more

New Jersey Supreme Court: No Statute of Limitations for Private Claims for Contribution Under NJ Spill Act

Following principles of strict statutory construction and refusing to “unsettle a decades-long understanding in this State,” on January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there is no statute of...more

New Jersey High Court Rejects Application of Six-Year Statute of Limitations to Spill Act Private Contribution Claims for...

In Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co., the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a six-year statute of limitations does not apply to private claims for contribution of costs incurred to remediate contaminated...more

Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation: District Court Finds Expert Proof Insufficient to Prove Causation (1/15)

Causation is often the biggest hurdle a plaintiff must clear in proving a toxic tort case. For that reason, it would be expedient if a plaintiff could get to trial on the issue of causation merely by showing that...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court's misapplication of the pollution exclusion and disregard for policyholders' business and purpose in...

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two opinions in which it held that pollution exclusions barred coverage for third-party claims resulting from alleged contamination of water due to the seepage of cow manure and...more

Air Emissions May Give Rise to CERCLA Liability

The Pakootas decision appears to be the first in which any federal court has directly addressed this issue. On December 31, 2014, in a case of first impression, Judge Lonny Suko of the U.S. District Court for the...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies Pollution Exclusion to Well Contaminated with Manure

Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the pollution exclusion applies to well water contamination arising from the application of manure to nearby farmland, relieving a general liability insurer of its duty to...more

Environmental News Flash: New Jersey Supreme Court Rules That Six-Year Statute Of Limitations Does Not Apply To Spill Act Claims

In a much anticipated decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled yesterday in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co. that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property is not applicable to Spill...more

A Municipal Ordinance Requiring Registration and Maintenance of Vacant or Foreclosed Properties Preempted under Chapter 21E

A municipal ordinance imposing registration and maintenance obligations upon owners and secured lenders of buildings that are vacant or undergoing foreclosure was preempted by the Massachusetts remediation and clean-up...more

The Construction Advantage – Issue 13

Welcome to the thirteenth edition of The Construction Advantage! In this issue, we bring you cases of expanded insurance coverage in New Hampshire and fraudulent concealment cases from California and Minnesota. We hope that...more

The Need For Expert Evidence To Make Out An Innocent Landowner Defense Under CERCLA

As every litigator knows, evidence almost always tells a story that is untidy and riddled with loose ends. This was illustrated by a recent innocent landowner case in California — Coppola v. Smith. There, a company had...more

Public Entities Can Inadvertently Waive Privilege in Response to a Public Records Act Request

California’s Public Records Act (PRA) law requires public entities to make their public records open for inspection and copying. Environmental practitioners often use PRA requests as a tool to obtain information regarding a...more

Part 201 Revisions – Streamlining the Pathways to Closure

On January 10, 2015, Governor Snyder signed SB 891 into law, enacting revisions to Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act ("Part 201), Michigan’s environmental remediation law. The revisions cover...more

Model Remedies Under Washington’s Model Toxic Control Act – A Modest First Step for Impacted Soil Sites

In December 2014, the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) issued a white paper discussing the status of its work toward developing “model remedies.” In 2013, the Washington Legislature directed Ecology to establish...more

Media Reports on 2014 "Fracking" Verdicts Miss the Real Story: Scientific Study Continues to Demonstrate the Safety of...

In April 2014, press reports widely suggested that a Dallas, Texas case was the first large verdict awarded on the basis of environmental damages sustained due to fracking. One advocacy journalism website's description of the...more

Environment 2015: Contamination and Waste Management Issues

This year is sure to bring a number of significant changes in the areas of waste management and cleanup, vapor intrusion, due diligence and issues related to real estate purchases. ...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Retroactive Application of Landfill Cleanup Statute

In 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to authorize mandatory injunctions to require cleanups of landfills. But could the courts use the statute to order cleanups of older...more

With Treatment, Less May Be More

As environmental regulators look more and more to scientific experts to devise treatments for contaminated sites, it might behoove those regulators to consider the import a a recent medical study which dramatically suggests...more

Class Certification Denied in Chemical Leak Lawsuit

An Arkansas federal judge recently denied a motion to certify a proposed class of property owners alleging that Whirlpool’s failure to clean up toxic chemicals at its facility diminished the value of their surrounding...more

PA Supreme Court Declines to Extend Multiple Trigger Theory to Property Damage Claims

Where an insured loss causes damages that straddle multiple policy periods, insurers and insureds must determine which policies are implicated. Clear rules regarding “trigger” of coverage benefit policyholders seeking to...more

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