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Teleflex Inc. v. Collins & Aikman Prods. Co.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 21135
Nos. 3:96CV352, 961 F. Supp. 368/(D. Conn., 12/03/1996)

The court dismisses a claim by property buyers that the sellers fraudulently misrepresented the property's environmental conditions. The court first holds that the buyers may assert a claim for fraud in the inducement despite the fact that the purchase agreement waives the parties' right to bring common-law claims. Under New York law, such waivers may be voided where fraud in the procurement of the release is alleged. Here, the buyers sufficiently pled that the sellers fraudulently misrepresented the property's environmental conditions, that they relied on these misrepresentations, and that they suffered damages. The court holds, however, that the sellers' alleged fraud does not vitiate the buyers' waiver of claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Where the intent of the parties is clear, the breadth of the provision allocating CERCLA liability is not disputed, and the injured party affirms the contract, federal law dictates that courts enforce releases of CERCLA liability. The court therefore dismisses the buyers' CERCLA claim, and holds that it lacks jurisdiction over the buyers' fraud claim because subject matter jurisdiction hinged on the buyers' CERCLA claim.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Enid R. Stebbins
Saul, Ewing, Remick & Saul
3800 Centre Sq. W., Philadelphia PA 19102
(215) 972-7777

Counsel for Defendants
David G. Mandelbaum
Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll
1735 Market St., 51st Fl., Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 665-8500