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Neumann v. Carlson Envtl., Inc.

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20081
Nos. No. 03 C 8769, (N.D. Ill., 04/20/2006)

A court grants in part and denies in part motions to dismiss land purchasers' Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), negligence, fraud, and state-law claims against an environmental consulting firm and the prior owners. The prior owners sold the land without disclosing the existence of four abandoned underground storage tanks (USTs), and the consulting firm failed to identify the USTs and other environment concerns during its examination of the property. The court dismissed the purchaser's Illinois Environmental Protection Act claim against the prior owners because there is no private right of action under that Act. The court also dismissed the purchaser's CERCLA §113 claim against the prior owners in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Cooper Industries, Inc. v. Aviall Services, Inc., 543 U.S. 157, 34 ELR 20154 (2004). The purchaser's CERCLA §107 claim against the prior owners, however, was not dismissed. The prior owners argued that the court should abstain from considering this issue under Burford v. Sun Oil Co., 319 U.S. 315 (1943), because the state already provides a forum for resolving UST matters. But CERCLA does not undermine the state UST scheme. The court also denied the prior owners' motions to dismiss the purchasers' Illinois Joint Tortfeasors Contribution Act and fraud claims. In addition, the court refused to dismiss consumer fraud and negligence claims filed against the environmental consulting firm.