Lender Liability

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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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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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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Bankruptcy Courts Rules Bank May Not Seek Cost Recovery for Contaminated Site Purchased in Auction Sale

Pete Seeger’s popular song from the 1960s “Where have all the Flowers Gone?” has the haunting recurring lyrics “When will they ever learn”. This song came to mind when we came across another case of a bank taking title to contaminated property without doing any environmental due diligence. In this case, Suburban Bank and Trust …

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Cal Appeals Ct Affirms $2MM judgment against foreclosing bank for failure to complete remediation is

The foreclosing lender in Hoang v. California Pacific Bank, 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5230 (July 23, 2014) made some curious decisions and the result was the bank was ordered to pay damages to the purchaser that exceed the sales price of the property. The irony is that the lender probably complied with the CERCLA …

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Major CMBS Lender Requiring EPs to Perform Site Inspections

We have previously discussed discussed here and in other forums how the All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Rule issued by EPA in 2005 is deeply flawed and has directly contributed to a worsening in the quality of phase 1 reports. This is ironic outcome since the reason EPA was instructed in the  2002 amendments to CERCLA  to issue …

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Problems Emerge with New CREC Definition

After a little more than six months after ASTM issued its new E1527-13 Phase 1 standard practice, problems are emerging over the new definition Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC) definition. The difficulties are related to the definition itself and differences among state environmental programs. Before discussing the CREC problems, a little background might be helpful …

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CMBS Special Servicer May Not Recover VI Test Costs Under Environmental Indemnity

Earlier this year, we discussed   the federal district ruling in Orix Capital Markets, LLC v Cadlerocks Centennial Drive, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48424 (D. Mass. 4/2/13) where a special servicer was allowed to pursue a guarantor despite the presence of an environmental insurance policy and was awarded over $100K in environmental investigation costs. This …

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More Prominent Role for Environmental Risk Management in Revised OCC Handbook

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has been updating its Comptroller’s Handbook to reflect changes to supervisory policy as well as to implement the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Comptroller’s Handbook is a collection of booklets divided into five handbook series that contain OCC procedures for …

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