Law Article: Justices Lean Toward Landowners

Justices Lean Toward Landowners In CERCLA Fight

By Sean McLernon
Law360, New York (April 23, 2014)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday signaled support for a decision to revive contamination claims against CTS Corp., suggesting that Congress did not believe there was a distinction between statutes of limitations and statutes of repose when it amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Liability and Compensation Act.

The North Carolina statute of repose at issue prevents plaintiffs from bringing any claims arising more than 10 years after an act of pollution occurred. The Fourth Circuit in July found that CERCLA preempts statutes of repose like the one in North Carolina, despite CERCLA’s exclusive use of the phrase ‚Äústatute of limitations.”
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Supreme Court to Hear CTS Case

Obama admin, company align against N.C. dump’s neighbors in Supreme Court showdown

Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter
Greenwire: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — When her son was 11, Lee Ann Smith was told what no parent wants to hear: Your child has cancer.

Three years later, she braced for another diagnosis. Her younger son had developed a large bone tumor in his leg.

“I was numb,” she recalled.

The tumor turned out to be benign, but it spurred Smith to search for the causes of her sons’ illnesses. Her family had no history of cancer or tumors.

She focused on an abandoned electroplating facility suspected of contaminating groundwater with solvents, some of which were known carcinogens. Her boys played in the creeks behind the shuttered plant.

Smith formed an activist group dedicated to a cleanup. And, in 2011, she and two dozen of the site’s neighbors filed a lawsuit against the plant’s former owner — CTS Corp. of Elkhart, Ind. — seeking damages and hoping to force the company to take remedial action.
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