NJDEP v. Dimant Heads to the Supreme Court09.27.2011
On September 13, 2011, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted Certification in the matter of NJDEP v. Dimant. In granting Certification, the Court decided to determine if the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (the “Spill Act”) provides for strict liability associated with alleged contamination absent a causal link/nexus to the contamination. Below, both the Trial Court and the Appellate Division found that Plaintiffs failed to establish liability against the Defendant and our clients, the Third-Party Defendants, which operated a laundromat/dry cleaners in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Specifically, the Trial Court found that Plaintiffs failed to connect any discharge on the Defendant’s/Third-Party Defendants’ Site with nearby residential drinking well and groundwater contamination.
In the Petition for Certification, Plaintiffs, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Administrator of the Spill Fund question whether the Trial Court and Appellate Division applied the appropriate causation standard. Specifically, Plaintiffs argue that the Trial Court and Appellate Division’s decisions narrowly interpreted the causation standard in a Spill Act case and allowed de minimis dischargers to improperly escape liability. The matter was tried by Marc Gaffrey. The Appellate brief was written by Marc Gaffrey and Cristyn Clifton and argued by Jacob Grouser.