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McWane, Inc. v. Crow Chicago Indus., Inc.

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20010
Nos. No. 99-3819, 224 F.3d 582/(7th Cir., 08/09/2000)

The court upholds the dismissal of a property developer's breach of contract and willful and wanton misconduct claims against its partner for contaminating previously uncontaminated soil on property they sought to redevelop. The developer claimed that by contaminating uncontaminated soil, the partner breached his duty to remediate existing contamination as defined by a letter of understanding regarding a due diligence investigation of the property. The court first holds that the district court correctly dismissed the breach of contract claim. Under the letter of understanding, the duty to remediate the contamination is clearly and unambiguously allocated to the developer. At no point does the letter impose a duty on the partner to conduct a due diligence investigation. The court next holds that the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the partner on the developer's remaining claims for injury done to the property. The developer was put on notice of possible contamination to the property in 1991, but it did not file suit until 1998, two years after the statute of limitations elapsed.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (7 pp., ELR Order No. L-252).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Ira J. Belcove
Butler, Rubin, Saltarelli & Boyd
Three First National Plaza
70 W. Madison St., Chicago IL 60602
(312) 444-9660

Counsel for Defendants
Gerald D. Kelly
Sidley & Austin
Bank One Plaza
10 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60603
(312) 853-7000