On April 16, 2020, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, the state’s intermediate appellate court, published three precedential opinions concerning the state’s condemnation of ocean-front property for access and use by the public.  New Jersey, from Sandy Hook to Cape May, has 130 miles of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.  “Goin’ down

In a recent decision, the Appellate Division clarified DEP’s ability to recover damages for environmental contamination under common law, holding that (1) the Spill Act does not subsume common law claims, (2) strict liability may apply to oil refining and storage operations, (3) the Public Trust Doctrine does not confer sufficient property rights to support

On March 18, 2020, the Appellate Division affirmed the Department of Environmental Protection’s November 9, 2017 decision to renew the Tier A municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) general permit. (Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. NJDEP, Dkt. A-1821-17T3.) Stormwater discharges must be permitted by DEP. General permits streamline the permitting process by avoiding the

An unpublished Superior Court Appellate Division opinion (89 Water Street Associates, LLC v. Reilly, Docket No. A-3366-17T1, October 1, 2019), despite being non-precedential, will be instructive to lawyers handling commercial real estate transactions, land use issues, or environmental litigation arising from environmentally contaminated sites.  The opinion reversed the trial court’s order interpreting environmental

Once again, a recent Appellate Division Panel opinion has environmental lawyers and their clients realizing that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) may collect penalties in the state’s municipal courts.  This time, the case concerned penalties assessed by DEP for failure to follow state site remediation requirements imposed by the Site Remediation and

In a recent unpublished decision, In the Matter of Spill Fund Lien, DJ No. 129570-02, the Appellate Division held that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), through the Spill Fund Administrator (the “Administrator”), could file a Spill Act lien against the property of a person in any way responsible for a discharged hazardous substance (“person in any way responsible”). The court also found that NJDEP’s “lien contest” guidance, the procedure for challenging Spill Act liens, satisfied procedural due process requirements. This decision removes a potential ground for challenging Spill Act liens, expands the universe of persons against whom a Spill Act lien can be filed, and may even expand the universe of persons against whom NJDEP can level treble damages claims.
Continue Reading Appellate Division Rules that “Persons in Any Way Responsible” Are Dischargers Under the Spill Act, Upholds NJDEP’s “Lien Contest” Process as Constitutional