Tag Archives: environmental contamination

A Lesson Learned – Important considerations for your commercial real estate due diligence checklist

Two commercial property owners find themselves responsible for decades-old environmental contamination because they failed to conduct proper environmental due diligence before their purchase and they bought short-tail, claims-made insurance policies with a claims-in-process exclusion that did not offer any protection against long-tail environmental claims. Under federal and state environmental laws, people who buy a contaminated … Continue Reading

Superfund Environmental Contamination Case Recently Reversed by 8th Circuit

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed class certification in Ebert v. General Mills, Inc. involving alleged environmental contamination. The decision highlights the complexities faced in putative class action toxic tort cases, especially those involving vapor intrusion. Ebert stresses the fact that causation, liability and damages determinations are not only inextricably linked, but also … Continue Reading

Taft Forms Brownfield and Site Development Team

Taft has formed a team focused on brownfield and site development of property that has the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. The group is dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, real estate developers, municipalities and others with the acquisition, disposition and redevelopment of real property for reuse, revitalization or restoration. The team represents many … Continue Reading

Kentucky Federal Court Approves Lone Pine Order

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky recently approved a Lone Pine case management order in a class action lawsuit, Modern Holdings, LLC et. al v. Corning Inc., seeking to recover personal injury and property damages allegedly caused by environmental contamination. (Lone Pine orders derive their name from the unpublished 1986 … Continue Reading

Multi-Million Dollar Insurance Bad Faith Claim in Environmental Contamination Case Affirmed on Appeal

An environmental contamination case resulting in a $3.4 million award for emotional distress and punitive damages due to unfair claims settlement practices by the insurer was recently affirmed on appeal in Indiana Insurance Company v. Demetre, Case No. 2013-CA-338 (Ky. Ct. App. Jan. 30, 2015). In the case, the policyholder sought to insure two pieces … Continue Reading

Environmental Due Diligence Needed for Commercial Real Estate

Having a properly conducted Phase I Environmental Site Assessment when purchasing or otherwise acquiring commercial real estate can mean the difference between sleeping well at night versus catastrophic financial ruin caused by environmental contamination.  Buyers recently learned a due diligence lesson the hard way for contaminated property they purchased 20 years earlier.  I described what … Continue Reading

RCRA Vapor Intrusion Liability for “Passive Inaction”

An environmental contamination case set for trial based on liability under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) for “passive inaction and studied indifference” recently settled, but the court filings provide a valuable lesson to property owners to address contamination promptly and to document delays outside of their control (such as agency review and approval … Continue Reading

Indiana Supreme Court Issues Opinion Requiring Insurers to Pay for Environmental Cleanup

The Indiana Supreme Court issued its opinion today in State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co. v. Flexdar, Inc. In a 3 to 2 decision, with Justice Rucker writing for the majority, the Supreme Court issued its greatly anticipated opinion upholding Indiana jurisprudence on the ambiguity of the “absolute pollution exclusion” in general commercial liability insurance policies.  … Continue Reading

Court Rules Employer Not Liable Under CERCLA For Employee’s Actions

On November 9, 2011, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (No. 0:11-cv-00619-DWF-FLN), ruled that Northern States Power Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary Xcel Energy, (“Xcel”) was not liable for the unauthorized actions of its former employee that resulted in environmental contamination. Without the Xcel’s knowledge, one of its long-time employees … Continue Reading

Environmental Services: Costs of Defense or Indemnification?

What part of an environmental consultant’s services constitute work performed in defense of the insured rather than indemnification? I have seen this issue pop up several times recently in the context of commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies subject to Indiana and Wisconsin law.  Read my recent blog post on Commonground.com for background, examples and a … Continue Reading
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