Thanks For My CERCLA Liability, Dad!

Tara J. Rose

What happens when an estate wants to deed or bequeath an environmentally questionable property to a beneficiary or trust?  Does the trustee or executor of the estate take on potential environmental liability?  Can someone “do something dirty” by leaving contaminated land to a disfavored acquaintance?  While the case-law directly addressing the inherited liability issue in Ohio is scant, this article attempts to discuss the “innocent landowner” defense provided for in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERLCA) in this novel context.  To some, it may seem relatively easy to identify a contaminated property – cue the dilapidated gas stations from an era long ago.  However, the reality is that many seemingly normal business operations include the handling, release and/or removal of hazardous substances can create liability under CERCLA.

Read the full article in the July 2020 issue of Properties Magazine.

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