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Coastal Envtl. Specialists, Inc. v. Chem-Lig Int'l, Inc.

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20362
Nos. No. 2000 CA 1936, 818 S.2d 12/(La. Ct. App., 11/23/2001)

The court denies an environmental remediation specialist's claims that a port commission owed it money for cleaning up property leased by the commission. A chemical manufacturer leased land from the port commission. Upon discovering contamination on the property, the manufacturer hired the environmental remediation specialist who successfully completed the remediation. However, after a hard rain, the same material spilled on the manufacturer's property. By this time the manufacturer was experiencing financial difficulties and ultimately shut down all operations. Thus, the port commission took over and hired a different environmental remediation company to clean up the spill. The initial remediation specialist then sued the port commission seeking to recover $85,842 due to it from the manufacturer.

The court first holds that the trial court correctly granted the port commission summary judgment. There was no genuine issue as to whether the spilled material was hazardous, thereby entitling the environmental specialist to recovery under state law. The specialist does not allege, nor does the record contain, any evidence to establish any particular flaw or defect in the analysis conducted of the material or the results thereof. The trial court's finding that the material was not hazardous, therefore, was not erroneous. The court additionally holds that the port commission was not unjustly enriched by the specialist's services. An action for unjust enrichment is allowed only when the plaintiff has no other remedy at law. Similarly, the court holds that there was no quasi-contract between the specialist and the port commission because the services rendered by the specialist were done so pursuant to its contract with the manufacturer. The law does not transform the port commission into a surety to protect the specialist from losses on an account receivable created in the course of the specialist's business operations.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (15 pp., ELR Order No. L-415).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Floyd J. Falcon Jr.
Avant & Falcon
429 Government St., Baton Rouge LA 70802
(225) 387-4462

Counsel for Defendant
Stephen W. Glusman
Glusman, Broyles & Glusman
701 North St., Baton Rouge LA 70802
(225) 387-5551