Underground Storage Tanks

Seller Allows Broker To Draft Environmental Condition and Then Loses Breach of Contract Case

Hager’s of Cohasset, Inc. v. Nelson, 2011Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 156 (Minn.Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2011) is yet another lesson from a long line of cases that illustrate the risks of not using counsel for commercial property transactions especially those have problematic environmental issues. In this case, the plaintiff operated a fuel-oil business. In October 2007, …

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California Appeals Court Rules Reopening of NFA Letter Does Not Trigger Contractual Indemnification

Anyone who has negotiated the purchase of a gas station is aware that these agreements are incredibly complex. The contracts have dense definitions, dependent and inter-related provisions, and grant broad discretion to the sellers in determining the scope and conduct of the cleanup. A buyer who does not retain an environmental attorney who has previously …

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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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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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NY Ct Says Former Tenant Liable For Abandoned Tanks As Trade Fixtures

Federal and state underground storage tank (UST) programs impose closure obligations on the owners or operators of USTs that are taken out of service. If the tanks are to be inactive for a short period of time (the time period varies depending on the state), the tanks must comply with temporary closure requirements. Owners or …

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Tenant Not Liable For Inactive UST Shared With Adjacent Property

We have discussed in prior posts that New York courts have broadly construed the definition of a “discharger” under the New York Navigation Law. Even owners of property with inactive underground storage tanks (USTs) have been held liable as “dischargers” despite the fact they may have not known about the tank much less exercised any …

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New Damages Trial Ordered For Vapor Intrusion

In Sunrise Harbor Realty LLC v 35th Sunrise Corp, 2011 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5834 (App. Div-2nd Dept 7/12/11), the plaintiff owned a commercial building in Copiague, New York. The plaintiff contemplated purchasing the adjacent property that contained a gas station to expand its building. A phase 2 detected petroleum-contaminated groundwater migrating onto the plaintiff …

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NY State Court Affirms Broad Liability for Owners of Property With Old USTs

Article 12 of the New York State Navigation Law imposes strict liability on “dischargers” of petroleum. The term “discharger” has been broadly construed so that it can encompass owners of property with abandoned or inactive underground storage tanks (USTs) even where the owners never used the tanks. A recent New York State appeals court illustrates …

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NY Ct Upholds Oil Spill Lien Procedures

Under article 12 of the New York State Navigation Law (Oil Spill Act), “dischargers” of petroleum are strictly liable for cleanup and removal of petroleum spills. To ensure that petroleum spills are promptly remediated, the Oil Spill Act created the State Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund (Oil Spill Fund) to finance state cleanups when …

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Court Allows Claims To Proceed Despite NFA Letter

No Further Action (NFA) letters have become an important tool in transactions involving contaminated properties. Contracting party often use issuance of an NFA letter has the mechanism for establishing that a party has satisfied its obligations under an agreement. Issuance of an NFA letter often also operates as a release of statutory liability and may …

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