Can strict liability claims also be asserted in environmental lawsuits?

Sometimes, but usually not in Texas.  The theory of strict liability for ultra-hazardous or abnormally dangerous activities has been incorporated into Sections 519 and 520 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. 

Section 519 states that: (1) one who carries on an abnormally dangerous activity is subject to liability for harm to the person, land, or chattels of another resulting from the activity, although he has exercised the utmost care to prevent the harm; and (2) this strict liability is limited to the kind of harm, the possibility of which makes the activity abnormally dangerous.

Section 520 states that in determining whether an activity is abnormally dangerous, a court should consider the:

(a)        existence of a high degree of risk of some harm to the person, land or chattels of others;

(b)       likelihood that the harm that results from it will be great;

(c)        inability to eliminate the risk by the exercise of reasonable care;

(d)       extent to which the activity is not a matter of common usage;

(e)        inappropriateness of the activity to the place where it is carried on; and

(f)        extent to which its value to the community is outweighed by its dangerous attributes.

Texas has not adopted either Sections 519 and 520.  Instead, when confronted with the opportunity to apply strict liability for ultra-hazardous activities, Texas courts have consistently required some other showing, such as negligence or trespass, for recovery.  However, Plaintiffs have successfully asserted this claim in other jurisdictions. 

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