Private Clean-Up Causes of Action and Federal Preemption

Real Property Law Reporter, July 2014

3 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2014

See all articles by Roger Bernhardt

Roger Bernhardt

Golden Gate University - School of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2014

Abstract

Analysis of how the United States Supreme Court decision in CTS v Waldburger will apply to toxic tort actions California.

The biggest problem that California practitioners will have with the new decision by the United States Supreme Court in CTS Corp. v Waldburger, is that it comes out of North Carolina. It gives no California reference for its holding that §309 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42 USC §9258) preempts state statutes of limitations that apply to common law actions by private individuals for toxic torts and replaces their normal triggering event (the date the cause of action accrues) with a “federally required commencement date” starting when “the plaintiff knew (or reasonably should have known)” that his personal injuries or property damage were caused by the defendant’s release of hazardous substances, but is subject to an express exception for time limits based on state statutes of repose rather than on statutes of limitations, according to the majority opinion (joined in by all but Justices Ginsburg and Breyer). Which do we have in California: limitations or repose periods?

Keywords: CTS v Waldburger, toxic tort actions, limitations repose

Suggested Citation

Bernhardt, Roger, Private Clean-Up Causes of Action and Federal Preemption (July 1, 2014). Real Property Law Reporter, July 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2485608

Roger Bernhardt (Contact Author)

Golden Gate University - School of Law ( email )

536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

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