The Colorado Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court erred when it failed to appropriate liability between two defendant property owners for $409,000 in damages after toxic substances leaked from underground gasoline storage tanks to a neighboring property for several years.

The plaintiff, Blakeland Drive Investors, sued Rashid Taghavi and Taghavi Inc., seeking $5.6 million for the amount required to replace the contaminated soil from leaking underground gasoline storage tanks, which showed two toxic substances migrating through the soil and groundwater. Those substances were identified as BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), a carcinogenic element of gasoline that migrates through water or vapor, and MTBE (mthyl tert-butyl ether), a compound made from petroleum hydrocarbons that dissolves in water and becomes difficult to separate from it, according to the appellate court’s opinion filed March 30.

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