News & Analysis as of

8th Circuit Court Finds Class Action Inappropriate to Resolve Neighborhood Claims for Damages Arising From Environmental...

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Eighth Circuit found that a class action could not be sustained in an environmental pollution case because “the class lacks the requisite commonality and cohesiveness to satisfy Rule 23.”...more

New Chinese Soil Pollution Law Planned for 2017 Could Be Accelerated

On April 17, 2016, China Central Television (CCTV), the country’s state-run broadcast network, aired a report claiming that nearly 500 students apparently developed illnesses (including leukemia) at a school built on...more

Williams Mullen Construction Industry Newsletter - Spring 2016

2016 begins with the issuance of this Construction Industry Newsletter, our fifth. In this issue, we have articles on vapor intrusion, liability for project design, enforcement of mechanic’s lien and bond waiver clauses, and...more

Selling Property “As Is” Won’t Protect Seller From Superfund Liability

Everyone is familiar with the two little words - “as is” - that pop up in real estate contracts. The “as is” clause is a means of allocating risk between seller and buyer. Generally, a seller who sells property “as is” will...more

EPA Seeks to Add Subsurface Intrusion to CERCLA Hazard Ranking System

The National Priorities List (“NPL”) is EPA’s list of the most contaminated sites in the country that warrant cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, (“CERCLA” a/k/a...more

Complaints Are Not Totally Meaningless: A CERCLA Plaintiff Must Allege Disposal Against a Former Owner

I know it may surprise some litigators, but occasionally the allegations in a complaint do matter. In Garrett Day v. International Paper, the Court dismissed CERCLA claims brought by the current owner of a former paper mill...more

Stop the Presses. Superfund is Stupid.

I know that pointing out CERCLA’s stupidity has something of a dog bites man quality, but sometimes Superfund’s stupidity bears repeating. Today’s exhibit? New York v. Next Millenium Realty, in which Judge Feuerstein held –...more

Eminent Domain: Be Careful What You Ask For

The condemnation of property for public works may not always be as clean and easy as the government would like. Although local governments are often critical players in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated...more

Financial Assurance Requirements are on the Horizon for Hard Rock Miners

On January 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to finalize the long-awaited “financial assurance” regulations under section 108(b) of...more

Is It Remedial or Removal — The Distinction Is Critical in Determining the Statute of Limitations for Actions under CERCLA

Under CERCLA activities to clean up hazardous substances are characterized as either “removal actions” or “remedial actions.” Generally, removal actions are interim actions to clean up or remove hazardous materials. 42...more

CERCLA Update: Court Reverses Divisibility Ruling

Earlier this year, we reported on a case that seemed to breathe new life into the divisibility defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Under CERCLA, a party that...more

Intruder Alert – EPA Issues Final Technical Guidance on Vapor Intrusion

This summer, EPA issued two, long-awaited final technical guides for assessing and mitigating the intrusion of hazardous vapors from subsurface contamination into overlying buildings. EPA’s issuance of these technical guides...more

Buyers Must Soon Comply With New Environmental Due Diligence Standard

Purchasers of commercial real estate must meet a new standard to qualify for liability protection under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and analogous state laws. Since...more

EPA Issues Long-Delayed Guidance for Assessing and Mitigating Vapor Intrusion Risks at Contaminated Sites

On June 11, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released long-delayed final guidance for evaluating and mitigating risks at sites where vapor intrusion is an actual or potential concern. The final guidance...more

South Carolina Court Limits CERCLA Remedies

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) allows the federal government to collect funds from or to order a “potentially responsible party” (“PRP”) to clean up contaminated sites. 42...more

Superfund Divisibility Defense Gets New Life

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, is a federal law under which contaminated sites are identified and evaluated by the Environmental Protection...more

PRPs May Want To Dig In With Divisibility Defense

In a victory for potentially responsible parties at multiparty contamination sites, a federal district court in U.S. v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held a PRP established that environmental harm at a...more

PRP in CERCLA Enforcement Action Saves Millions of Dollars with Successful Divisibility Defense

Action Item: On March 15, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in United States v. NCR Corp., No. 10-C-910 (E.D. Wis. May 15, 2015), held that a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at...more

Ninth Circuit Widens Judges’ Discretion to Allocate CERCLA Contribution Damages

Trial court may select the method of accounting for prior settlement in allocating response costs among liable parties, but claims to recover settlement payments are limited to costs consistent with the National Contingency...more

In Cross-Border Contamination Case, Court Holds That CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claim

In yet another recent case involving the intersection of CERCLA and state law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that CERCLA legislatively displaced federal common law public...more

Expert Testimony May Be Required To Establish CERCLA Innocent Landowner Defense

On January 20, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in Coppola v. Smith, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5127, addressed the application of CERCLA’s innocent landowner defense against a somewhat...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

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

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

December 2014 - Real Estate FOUNDATION

In this issue - The CERCLA Divisibilty Defense: Back from the Dead? - Springing Recourse for Breach of Solvency and Debt Payment Covenants? Does New York Need Cherryland Legislation? - Mid-Construction...more

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