Who really has the final say in terms of when plaintiffs must file a toxic tort claim in the U.S.: the states or the Federal government?
This very question is currently being evaluated by Supreme Court as a result of a case involving several landowners whose well water was contaminated with chlorinated solvents resulting from historic electronic manufacturing operations.
The Supreme Court will soon consider whether or not a state’s statues of repose and/or statutes of limitation supersede certain “discovery” provisions built into the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
The case granted cert by the Supreme Court is CTS Corp. v. Waldburger The underlying Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision held that that the discovery rule articulated in § 9658 of Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601-9675, preempts North Carolina’s ten-year limitation.
The results of the Supreme Court case could have far-reaching consequences on the application of statutes of limitations and when plaintiffs must file toxic tort claims. This case will be monitored very closely in the months to come, as toxic tort stakes are high for both plaintiffs and defendants. We will keep you advised of any developments.