Can you seek recovery of your cleanup costs in a pollution lawsuit?

Yes.  If the contamination was caused by previous operations on your property or on the neighboring property, the owner can file suit to seek recovery of the cost spent to remediate the property.

I represent both plaintiffs and defendants throughout the United States in lawsuits which seek the recovery of costs and damages incurred in cleaning up contaminated property.  I also specialize as PRP group counsel in Superfund cost recovery and contribution actions on a contingent fee basis.  The typical causes of actions asserted in most environmental lawsuits arise under either statutory or common law.  Under statutory law, the plaintiffs typically assert “cost-recovery” claims against defendants which seek to recover costs they spent to investigate and remediate their property. 

These claims arise under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) or a state equivalent, for instance under the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act (“SWDA”).  Plaintiffs sometimes also assert citizen suit claims under several federal environmental statutes (i.e. “RCRA”) as “private attorney generals” which entitles them to statutory penalties, injunctive relief as well as attorney’s fees.  

Under common law, the typical causes of action asserted by the plaintiffs are for nuisance (private and public), trespass, negligence, negligence per se, breach of contract, strict liability for ultra-hazardous and abnormally dangerous activities, liability under state hazardous sites cleanup acts, and fraud.  Plaintiffs have also asserted claims for negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, impairment of use of property, deceptive trade practice act violations, and premises liability.  The success of these latter claims differs dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. 

Do you have questions? You can get our FREE ebook, Environmental Litigation: What Every Attorney and Environmental Professional Needs to Know, just by providing your name and email address at this link.  We promise your information won’t be shared with third persons. And if you’d like to speak with me about your case, I welcome your phone call at 972-850-8490. I look forward to speaking with you.