MARC Wins Dismissal of Claims Against Dry-Cleaning Company

A New Jersey judge tossed all claims on July 15, 2016 against a dry-cleaning company named in a civil suit for contribution and apportionment of remediation costs under the New Jersey Spill Act.

The dispute arose from tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination at a strip mall in Freehold, NJ. The resulting complex environmental litigation consisted of two consolidated actions involving claims among and against the owner of the underlying property, the mall’s owner and landlord, the landlord’s commercial tenant who subleased out the mall’s individual commercial storefronts, at least four subtenants who operated dry-cleaning businesses at the property at some time between 1979 and 2009, and an environmental consultant who investigated the property in 2007.

Michael R. Futterman and Zachary D. Wellbrock obtained summary judgment ordering that all claims against MARC‘s client be dismissed after nearly three years of discovery and litigation.

Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Jamie S. Perri held that, despite ample time for investigation and discovery, there was no evidence that MARC’s client, which ceased operations at the property in 1989, was responsible for the property contamination or that the contamination existed before the client ceased operations.

The plaintiff had therefore failed to establish the required nexus between MARC’s client and the contamination so as to trigger potential liability under the Spill Act.

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