Tagged: Water Pollution

Proving Liability for Clean-Up Costs – Nexus; Circumstances and Experts – Lessons from Dimant and DVL 0

Proving Liability for Clean-Up Costs – Nexus; Circumstances and Experts – Lessons from Dimant and DVL

On May 18, 2011, the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld a trial court’s decision that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection had failed to establish sufficient “nexus” or connection between the operator of a dry cleaner and regional groundwater contamination. In New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Dimant, et al., (Docket A-3180-09T2), the Appellate Division soundly rejected New Jersey’s claim that “the Spill Act must be interpreted and applied very broadly to find that any discharge at any time, even a de minimis one, imposes liability on all operators handling that product, and that a direct causal connection between the discharge and the damages need not be established.” This sort of argument which asks the court to overlook critical connections is all too common in environmental cases. Indeed, governmental plaintiffs often invoke policy reasons when asking for relaxed nexus requirements whereas private parties seeking contribution frequently call on the courts to shift the burden to the alleged dischargers.

Paper Companies That “Created, Mobilized and Profited From” PCBs Must Bear 100% of Cleanup Costs in Fox River CERCLA Case, But May Not Be Liable for PCBs in Waste Paper Sold to Recyclers 0

Paper Companies That “Created, Mobilized and Profited From” PCBs Must Bear 100% of Cleanup Costs in Fox River CERCLA Case, But May Not Be Liable for PCBs in Waste Paper Sold to Recyclers

The other shoe dropped on February 28 in the closely watched CERCLA case involving PCB contamination of the Fox River in Wisconsin. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who had previously ruled that the paper companies that made and discharged PCBs to the river could not seek contribution from recycling mills that unknowingly bought PCB-laden waste paper, called “broke,” and also discharged PCBs, held that those companies must reimburse those comparatively innocent companies for 100% of the costs they have incurred for most of the polluted river. But he held that it was too early to say whether the paper companies knew, and did, enough, to make them liable for “arranging for” disposal of the PCBs that ended up in the recycling mills’ discharges to an upstream stretch of the river.

The Fox River Cleanup Snares Insurers, Passaic River PRPs Should Take Note 0

The Fox River Cleanup Snares Insurers, Passaic River PRPs Should Take Note

On June 8, 2010, in Westport Insurance Co. v. Appleton Papers, Inc., the Wisconsin Court of Appeals for the First District held that two insurers, namely Munich Re Ag and Westport Insurance Co., are liable each for $5 million dollars to compensate Appleton Papers, Inc. (Appleton) for cleaning up the sediment contamination in the Fox River. The Fox River is undergoing a cleanup pursuant to oversight by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.