CERCLA

Consultants in Bank Lawsuit Saved by the (Statute of Limitations) Bell

Christmas arrived early for two environmental consulting firms when a federal district court ruled in Bank United, N.A. v. Merritt Environmental Consulting Corp, 2018 U.S. Dist. Lexis 214448 (S.D.N.Y. 12/20/2018) that a lender had waited too long to file a complaint against the consultants for failing to identify radioactive contamination in a phase 1 environmental …

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JP Morgan Chase Actually Acquired “Toxic” Assets During the Great Recession

During the Great Recessions, the term “toxic assets” became a cliché. It was used to describe loans and other financial instruments that had fallen significantly and for which there is no longer a functioning market. The presence of these so-called toxic assets on their balance sheets caused many banks to fail. As it turned out, …

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Trump Administration Infrastructure Plan Proposes CERCLA Amendments

Earlier this week the Trump Administration unveiled its “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America”.  Among the proposals were three amendments to the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) that are designed to incentivize redevelopment of contaminated properties. The proposal can be viewed Here.  Since this document is an overview, it does not …

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Remedial Program Reform Proposals for EPA Administrator Pruitt

Regulatory reform is at the centerpiece of the Trump Administration’s plan to stimulate economic growth. During the presidential campaign, candidate Trump vowed to rollback a variety of Obama Administration Climate Change Initiatives but said little about EPA remedial programs such as the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or superfund). Based on …

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Appellate Court Restricts NYSDEC Ability to Spend Superfund Money

A legal maxim is that  bad facts often make bad law. It appears that complex facts may have confused an Appellate Division court in In the Matter of FMC Corporation vs New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6785 (App. Div.-Third Dept. 10/20/16) where the three judge-panel appeared to rule …

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NY Court of Appeals Finds PRP Letter Triggers Contractual Indemnification

The New York State Court of Appeals held that a PRP letter issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was sufficient to trigger an indemnity obligation under a purchase and sale agreement. While lower courts have found PRP letters to constitute “suits” within the meaning of  a Comprehensive General Liability policy …

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Lender that Sold Contaminated Property Agrees to $1.4MM Settlement

We have previously reported on instances where banks have incurred cleanup costs in connection with properties they have sold.  For some examples, click here, here, here, here and here The latest installment of this saga involves Bank of America (BOA) which agreed to pay $1.4MM as part of a settlement involving a dry cleaner property that a …

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Do Clients Have To Complete Consultant Questionnaires To Comply With AAI?

The short answer is no. Environmental consultants routinely submit environmental questionnaires to property owners and their clients as part of the phase 1 process. Some consultants tell their clients that they are obligated to complete the questionnaire to be able to comply with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (“AAI”) rule. A few go as far as …

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Does A Phase 1 Have To Be Issued To The Person Seeking To Comply With AAI?

Purchasers who want to be able to assert the CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP), Innocent Landowner (ILO) or Continuous Property Owner (CPO) landowner liability protections (LLPs) need to conduct a pre-acquisition investigation that complies with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) rule. A question that is surfacing with surprising frequency is if the phase 1 …

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McDonald’s Labor Case May Have Environmental Law Implications

Labor rulings have in the past served as precedent for eroding traditional corporate law doctrines and expanding liability of corporations. For example, the doctrine known as either Continuity of Enterprise or Substantial Continuity was used in the 1990s to impose successor liability for environmental contamination originated with a line of labor law cases dating back to …

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