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Morristown Assocs. v. Grant Oil Co.

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20025
Nos. A-38, (N.J., 01/26/2015)

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property does not apply to private claims for contribution made pursuant to the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act). The case arose after a commercial property owner sought to recover the costs of cleaning up contamination from a UST used by a dry cleaning facility. The trial court held that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property, N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1, applied to private claims for contribution pursuant to the Spill Act. The property owners' claims, therefore, were time barred. An appellate court affirmed, but the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed. The plain text of the Spill Act supports the conclusion that there is no statute of limitations defense for contribution defendants except in those instances where the injury resulted from "an act or omission caused solely by war, sabotage, or God, or a combination thereof." The six-year limitations period for real property damage, therefore, does not apply, and the court reversed and remanded the lower court decisions.