Month: February 2012

Abandoned USTs Continue To Haunt Landlords With Old Leases

Many commercial properties are subject to old leases that were originally negotiated prior to the advent of environmental laws. These leases not only do not address environmental issues but also may contain clauses that can create liability for landlords when the property contains USTs. One of the more problematic clauses in old leases are those …

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Court Interprets Scope of Indemnity Clauses Involving Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill

As the trial date for the sprawling Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill litigation date rapidly approaches, the federal district court has been busy issuing decisions to help refine the issues. Two of these opinion involved interpreting the scope of contractual indemnities-one of our favorite topics. The first opinion involved cross-motions for partial summary judgment filed …

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Insurance Requirement Allows Voidable Indemnity Clause To Be Enforceable

Can a party be indemnified for its own negligence? In many states, such provisions are void as against public policy. Other some states allow enforcement of indemnification for the indemnitee’s own negligence when the clause expressly references “negligence.” Likewise, many states will enforce indemnities where the indemnified party is strictly liable because of its status …

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Court Allows Discovery To Proceed on Fracking Practices For Reserve Pits

Regulators are increasingly focusing on management of the wastewater and other chemicals used in fracking operations. The recent case of Kartch v EOG, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130711 (D.N.D 11/10/11) illustrates the legal issues that property owners and drillers are increasingly having to face when negotiating drilling leases. In this case, the plaintiffs purchased agricultural …

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Assignment of Benefits Does Not Violate Anti-Assignment Clause

An Illinois appeals court ruled that an insurer had a duty to defend a successor  of an insured where the insured made an assignment of benefits pursuant to a asset sales agreement. The assignment of benefits had been made without consent of the insured and the insurance policy had contained an anti-assignment clause.. In Illinois …

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Montana Supreme Ct Allows Lawsuit To Proceed For 25 Year Old Plume

In what may be one of the more important common law pollution cases of the past few years, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that property owners may proceed with lawsuit alleging damages from contamination that has migrated from a railyard that had operated by Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company and its predecessors from …

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CERCLA Contribution Action Not Available for BCP/VCP Cleanup

In Queens W. Dev. Corp. v. Honeywell Int’l, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91795 (D.N.J. 2011), the plaintiff developers commenced remedial activities at two parcels that were accepted into the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) and Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendants as successors …

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Cleanup Under NY Water Law Order Is CERCLA Removal Action for Statute of Limitations Purposes

Groundwater at many commercial properties in Long island and suburban areas of New York has been contaminated from discharges to dry wells, leaching pools and septic systems. In the 1980s, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) frequently used consent orders issued pursuant to Title 17 of the Environmental Conservation Law which prohibits …

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Review of Recent CERCLA Third Party Defense “Due Care” Caselaw-Part 1

The Third Party defense (42 U.S.C. 9607(b)(3) is probably the most important CERCLA defense. To assert the defense, a defendant must satisfy the following four elements or prongs: The release was solely caused by a third party; The defendant had no direct or indirect “contractual relationship” with the third party (“contractual relationship” prong); The defendant …

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