News & Analysis as of

New York District Court Holds Lessee Not Liable Under CERCLA as an Owner

A New York federal district court recently held that a lessee will not be found liable under CERCLA as an owner where the lessee does not possess sufficient indicia of ownership. (Next Millennium Realty, LLC v. Adchem Corp.,...more

CERCLA Cost Recovery v. Contribution Again: It’s Still Unfair

Parties in CERCLA cases continue to deal with the consequences of the Supreme Court decisions in Aviall and Atlantic Research which essentially created two classes of PRPs: (1) PRPs who entered into CERCLA settlements with...more

California Federal Court Dismisses CERCLA Claims and Strikes Request for Attorneys’ Fees

In N. Cal. River Watch v. Fluor Corp., __F.Supp.3d__, 2014 WL 4954638 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 2, 2014), a Northern California district court dismissed Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)...more

Tenant Who Sublets A Superfund Site Is Not Likely To Be A CERCLA Liable Party

It is generally the rule that a lessee who does not operate the property it rents will not be liable under CERCLA except in the unusual circumstance where the lessee qualifies as an “owner” of the property. Typically, this...more

Environmental Claims: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Asarco LLC v. Goodwin, 756 F.3d 191 (2nd Cir. 2014) – A reorganized company (Asarco) sought contribution for payment of environmental claims from beneficiaries of trusts created under John D. Rockefeller’s will. The...more

EPA Issues Final Rule Clarifying CERCLA’s “All Appropriate Inquiry” Standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has at long last issued a Final Rule which provides clarification to prospective purchasers of contaminated property regarding the standards and practices that are to be used for...more

CERCLA Preempts Local Cleanup Bylaws; PRPs Everywhere Breath a Sigh of Relief

In an important decision yesterday, Judge Douglas Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts confirmed that CERCLA preempts local cleanup bylaws. The case involved one aspect of the cleanup of the W.R. Grace Superfund Site in...more

Supreme Court Says CERCLA Does Not Preempt Repose Defense for Tort Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court has put to rest a longstanding legal question affecting the deadline for plaintiffs to bring toxic tort and contamination claims stemming from certain contaminated sites. CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, No....more

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Apportionment

The U.S. Court of Appeals used the recent case of PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston LLC to decide when it is appropriate to rule in favor of apportionment under CERCLA. In this case, 43 acres of land in...more

Is Death A Defense To CERCLA Liability?

In contrast to the early days of Superfund when no argument for extending CERCLA liability was too far-fetched, the Second Circuit recently rejected one of the all-time “Hail Mary” passes for CERCLA contribution. The case,...more

Environmental Due Diligence: A Practical Guide to Environmental Site Assessments Part 1

Environmental Site Assessments (“ESA”) assist potential purchasers acquiring an interest in commercial real estate with determining a baseline for certain environmental conditions of the property and potentially establishing...more

Statute of Repose: A New Weapon in Environmental Defense Counsel’s Arsenal

The June 9, 2014, Supreme Court ruling in CTS Corp v. Waldburger represents a victory for companies and landowners with legacy environmental liabilities in states with a statute of repose applicable to tort claims. Moreover,...more

Supreme Court Holds That CERCLA Preemption Is Inapplicable to Statutes of Repose

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), preempts statutes of limitations applicable to state-law tort actions for personal injury or property damage in certain...more

Supreme Court rules that statutes of repose may bar state tort claims under CERCLA

On June 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court, in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, ruled that an individual state’s statute of repose is not preempted by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of...more

The “Discovery” Rule Is No Longer Supreme: The Supreme Court Holds That State Statutes of Repose Are Not Preempted by CERCLA

On June 9, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger et al. that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA, or the “Superfund” law), which preempts state statutes...more

Supreme Court Sends Strong Signal that Lower Courts Should Stop Interpreting CERCLA “in a liberal manner” and Focus on the...

The Supreme Court’s decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, No. 13-339, 573 U.S. __ (June 9, 2014), sends a strong message to lower courts that the oft-repeated refrain that CERCLA is a “remedial statute” that must be...more

Statutes of Repose Unaffected by CERCLA Requirement that State Law Incorporate Discovery Rule in Statutes of Limitation

On June 9, in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, et al., No. 13-339, the U.S. Supreme Court held 7-2, that the Fourth Circuit erred in holding that CERCLA Section 9658 applied to the application of the North Carolina statute of repose,...more

Do Statutes of Repose Under CERCLA Really Require Supreme Court Review

Even Superfund lawyers are likely to find the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in CTS Corporation v. Waldburger to be of limited interest. Unable to reach an agreement about a federal “toxic tort” cause of action, Congress...more

Breaking News: SCOTUS Rules Today CERCLA Does Not Preempt State Statutes of Repose

The United States Supreme Court today ruled that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), enacted in 1980 to "promote the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites," does not...more

Supreme Court Decides CTS Corp. v. Waldburger

On June 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court decided CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, No. 13-339, holding that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) does not preempt state...more

Updated Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard Approved - Key to Sound Due Diligence

A new Phase I environmental site assessment standard has been approved for use in 2014, providing the most current set of environmental site assessment practices for real estate and many M & A transactions. The new Phase I...more

The New Environmental Due Diligence Standard Saga Continues

To supplement our prior blog posts with respect to this issue, on December 30, 2013, the USEPA published a final rule (“Final Rule”) adopting the ASTM E1527-13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments, Phase I...more

The Emerging Non-Expansive View of CERCLA Liability: The Decline of Tanglewood East

The specter of environmental harm used to frighten courts and spawned a generation of decisions extending Superfund liability to virtually any party with a nexus to a site that was contaminated. One case that signaled just...more

Revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard Issued

On November 6, 2013, ASTM International issued its revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard, E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” Perhaps...more

EPA Calls for New “Completion Strategies” at Contaminated Groundwater Sites

October 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its draft “Groundwater Remedy Completion Strategy – Moving Forward with Completion in Mind,” which would establish a recommended strategy for an adaptive...more

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