Search Site
Menu
NJ Supreme Court to Hear Argument in Environmental Spill Case on Oct. 6

NJ High Court to Decide if 6 Year Statute of Limitation Applies to Environmental Cleanup Cost Recovery Claim Under the Spill Act

On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will be hearing oral argument in Morristown Assoc. v Grant Oil Co., 432 N.J.Super 287 (App. Div. 2013), a case involving the statute of limitations applicable to claims arising under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (“Spill Act”). The Morristown case, which involves a lawsuit filed by the owner of a shopping center to recover environmental cleanup costs from oil companies and a dry cleaner, made waves last year for its ruling that Spill Act claims were subject to a six-year statute of limitation. Before the 2013 Morristown ruling, it had been widely understood that there was no statute of limitation on Spill Act claims.

The Spill Act is the centerpiece of environmental legislation in New Jersey. It is the law that requires those responsible for discharging hazardous substance to clean up contaminated property or reimburse others who have incurred cleanup costs (including the State of New Jersey through the Department of Environmental Protection). In Morristown, the plaintiff alleges that contamination of the soil and groundwater at its property was caused by a leaking underground storage tank (UST). The Appellate Division held that the claim was time barred because it was brought outside the six year period imposed by N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1, which began running in 1999 when the shopping center should have realized that contamination may have existed. The Court reasoned that enforcing the statute of limitations does not prevent a diligent plaintiff from recovering contribution under Spill Act claims; it just requires that a plaintiff under the Spill Act file in a timely manner. 

Supreme Court Ruling Could Have Widespread Impact for Industrial Property Owners, Business Community, and (Re)Developers

The ruling has the potential for wide-spread impact on hazardous site remediation, brownfield development, and other pending environmental litigation matters. The potential for state-wise impact by this ruling is so strong, it led to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) to file amicus briefs, requesting that the State Supreme Court overturn the Appellate Division’s ruling. On behalf of its non-profit client, the Passaic River Coalition, Lieberman Blecher & Sinkevich P.C. also filed an amicus brief.

The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the Morristown case on Monday, October 6, 2014. The oral argument will stream live on the judiciary’s website: https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/webcast/

Our firm will be following the progress of this case very closely to ensure we can provide our clients with the best service in cases affected by the outcome of this ruling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • New Jersey Legislature Passes National Precedent Setting Environmental Justice Bill. https://t.co/P8ybU2UrtD
    4 weeks ago
  • New Jersey files 12 new environmental justice lawsuits. https://t.co/jYo1yCwTOa
    4 weeks ago
  • Plans Underway for Building Offshore Wind Farms Along the New Jersey Coast. https://t.co/S4CDX5DMS0
    2 months ago
  • Energy companies cancel construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. https://t.co/aDYHr4nhal
    3 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Lead Exposure and Frivolous Litigation

Owners of older residential properties are likely familiar with the legal requirement to provide warnings concerning the existence of lead. Lead exposure, particularly amongst children, can result in severe, even
Read More
Lead Exposure and Frivolous Litigation

New Jersey Supreme Court rules the PLA does not preempt CFA claims by consumers

Now more than ever, consumer protection is important. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we see new products on our shelves, promising safe disinfection for hands and surfaces as
Read More
New Jersey Supreme Court rules the PLA does not preempt CFA claims by consumers

Notices and Appellate Review of a CAFRA Permit

In JSTAR, LLC v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, et al., Docket No. A-1745-18T1, the Appellate Division in an unpublished decision revisited the issues of notice and a review
Read More
Notices and Appellate Review of a CAFRA Permit

Preemption Isn’t Always the Answer: The Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County Law Division highlights the necessary harmony between State legislation and municipal land use ordinances

On November 20, 2019, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County Law Division, issued an opinion in the matter captioned Lakeview Memorial Park Association v. Burlington County Construction Board
Read More
Preemption Isn’t Always the Answer: The Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County Law Division highlights the necessary harmony between State legislation and municipal land use ordinances

In the media

  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules

    NJ.com Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form