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Kennedy Bldg. Assocs. v. Viacom, Inc.

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20050
Nos. No. 03-1520, (8th Cir., 07/15/2004)

The Eighth Circuit reversed a lower court's strict liability judgment and accompanying punitive damages award against a company in connection with the environmental contamination of a site it once owned. Minnesota's strict liability rule for actions brought by subsequent property owners requires an "escape" of the instrumentality causing the harm. Here, the current owner's claim was to recover for damage on its property, not for damage caused by the escape of pollutants onto other people's property. The court also remanded the lower court's injunction against the company because it exceeds the relief authorized by the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act. Last, the court remanded the award of attorney fees and reversed the award of prejudgment interest on the strict liability claims.