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The Law Journal takes a look at the latest developments in environmental law including a groundbreaking decision that may impact remediation throughout New Jersey, what developers’ lawyers should know about DEP program changes, guidance for policyholders on taking an insurer to court, “killer mold” and its health risks, the difficult standard defendants must satisfy when seeking to dismiss a claim, and an appellate division ruling that changes the way appraisals have traditionally been done in condemnations.
It’s Time to ‘Dig and Haul’ The groundbreaking decision in Interfaith Community Organization v. Honeywell International, may impact remediation not only of dozens of COPR-contaminated sites in and around Hudson County but also sites throughout New Jersey. Growing Mold, Growing Litigation Mold, which has quietly coexisted with humans for centuries, has been getting the spotlight of late, due to large jury verdicts and settlements and sensational media portrayal about “killer mold” and the alleged health problems it causes. Taking an Insurer to Court In New Jersey, it is not always clear when the mandatory joinder rule applies. One area of uncertainty concerns declaratory judgment actions against insurers for failing to provide coverage following a third-party environmental claim. But, as a result of a recent ruling, policyholders who believe they have a fighting chance have additional guidance for determining if and when they must come to court. A New Era of Brownfield Remediation The election of Gov. James McGreevy in 2001 ushered in a new era of invigorating the development of brownfield sites while limiting the development of open spaces. As the governor’s lead agency, the DEP has undertaken both a reorganization of its site remediation program and has announced a number of policy and program initiatives designed to facilitate the processing of site remediation cases generally, and brownfield sites in particular. Environmental Justice Redux The latest ruling in New Jersey’s continuing environmental justice drama illustrates that defendants in such cases, like other federal litigants, have a difficult standard to satisfy when seeking to dismiss a claim, particularly at the early stages of litigation. New Jersey’s New Rubric for Valuing Contaminated Property A recent appellate division ruling changes the way appraisals have traditionally been done in condemnations. Condemning authorities may now value contaminated property as if it is contaminated, rather than as if it is clean.

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