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Bankcorpsouth Bank v. Environmental Operations, Inc.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20323
Nos. 4:11CV9, (E.D. Mo., 10/11/2011) (Autrey, J.)

A district court held that a bank may go forward with its CERCLA and negligence claims against engineering and remediation companies that prepared and implemented an environmental remediation plan for property in which the bank holds an interest, but it dismissed the bank's strict liability and negligent misrepresentation claims. The bank argued that the companies failed to completely remediate the site for the purpose of assisting a developer and lender with future redevelopment. The companies argued that the CERCLA claims should be dismissed because they had neither actual control nor the authority to control any of the environmental operations of the subject property. But the complaint alleges that the defendants knew that there were disposed hazardous materials on the property and that they engaged in deliberate disturbance, unearthing, spilling, moving, and re-releasing of hazardous materials and compounds into the property. The companies, however, cannot be held strictly liable for contamination caused by defective containment cells placed on the property. None of the companies were acting as a seller, manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor of the defective product. And while the allegations in the complaint raised a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the bank's negligence claim, the complaint failed to show that any representations allegedly made by the companies to the bank were false. The companies' motions to dismiss were therefore granted in part and denied in part.