Private Clean-Up Causes of Action and Federal Preemption
Real Property Law Reporter, July 2014
3 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2014
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
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