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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Appellants Carl Potter, Chris Potter and C&K Materials (“Potters”) filed suit against several defendants, including the appellee, Kaufman & Broad Home Systems of Texas Inc., seeking reimbursement for fines and cleanup costs associated with an order issued against the Potters by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Beginning in 1980, the Potters owned and operated a recycling facility (“Easterline Facility”). The appellees in this case, including Kaufman, deposited waste at the facility. The Potters were allegedly responsible for disposing of the waste. In 1982, the Texas Department of Health investigated the Potters and cited them for the unauthorized disposal of municipal solid waste at the Easterling facility. In 1992, the Texas Water Commission investigated and cited the Potters for the same offense. In May of 1995, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission conducted another inspection of the Easterling facility and found the site still in violation of applicable regulations. On July 18, 1995, the TNRCC notified the Potters of these violations, which included 1. operation of an unauthorized municipal solid waste landfill without a permit; 2. storage, processing and/or disposal of municipal solid waste at an unauthorized facility; and 3. unauthorized burning of municipal solid waste. Although the TNRCC notified the Potters in 1995, the both parties did not signed the agreed final order regarding these violations until September 1999. However, the signed order affirms that the Potters knew of their violations “on or about July 18, 1995.” On Sept. 27, 2001, the Potters filed suit for “contribution activity” against Kaufman and the other companies who had deposited waste at the Easterling facility: alleged causes of action included negligence, breach of contract, tortious breach of contract, and fraud. The Potters’ petition stated that they were not aware of the prohibited waste left at their facility by the defendants. The companies collectively filed a traditional motion for summary judgment, alleging that there were no genuine issues of material fact, that the applicable statutes of limitation had run on the Potters’ claims, and that the Potters had no viable claims under Texas Health & Safety Code �361.344 because they had failed to comply with statutory requirements. Following the filing of the Potters’ response to the motion for summary judgment, the trial court found in favor of the defendants. The Potters appealed the trial court’s decision in two issues. In the first, they argue the court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants because they filed suit within the time period proscribed by the applicable statutes of limitations. Their second issue addresses the Texas Health & Safety Code. HOLDING:The court upholds the district court and overrules the Potter’s first issue, regarding the statute of limitations. The court does not address the Health and Safety Code argument, because of its decision on the first issue. Although the Potters received notice of their violations from the TNRCC on July 19, 1995, following the inspection of the Easterling facility, the final order assessing fines and the submission of a cleanup plan was not signed by both parties until Dec. 1, 1999. On appeal, the Potters argue the statute of limitations did not begin to run until the latter date because there was no way for them to have known nor should they have known exactly what fines would be levied against them or what remedial action would be proscribed. They cite Atkins v. Crosland, 417 S.W.2d 150 (Tex. 1967) in support of their position, a case in which a court found that the statute of limitation on an accounting malpractice claim involving tax returns did not begin to run until the IRS assessed a penalty. The court cites a later case that clarified Atkins, Murphy v. Campbell, 964 S.W.2d 265 (Tex. 1997), for the proposition that under the discovery rule, an action accrues not when the injury becomes certain but when the claimant should know of his injury. The court finds that here, the Potters knew of the violations, and therefore of the existence of the injury caused by the violations, on the day they received notice from the TNRCC: July 18, 1995. Although the Potters did not know the exact fines assessed against them or the extent of the necessary remedial action, they knew or should have known of the alleged wrongs committed against them by the defendants at the point they first received notice from the TNRCC. The statute of limitations, then, accrued on this day. Negligence, tortious breach of contract and common law contribution claims must be brought no later than “two years from the date the cause of action accrues.” Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code �16.003(a)(Vernon 2002). As stated above, the Potters’ cause of action accrued on July 18, 1995, but they failed to file their suit until Sept. 27, 2001. Therefore, the Potters’ claims of tortious conduct against Kaufman and the other defendants are barred by the applicable two-year statute of limitations. Claims sounding in either breach of contract or fraud must be brought within four years of the accrual date. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code ��16.004(a) and 16.051. Again, the limitations for any alleged breach of contract or fraud began to run in 1995. Because the Potters did not file suit until 2001, more than six years after their cause of action had accrued, their breach of contract and fraud claims are barred by the applicable statutes. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Kaufman and the other defendants. The court overrules the Potters’ first issue. OPINION:Green, J. Lopez, CJ, Stone and Green, JJ.

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