Legal Question in Environmental Law in New Jersey

In 1997, my husband and I sold a house in New Jersey that had a buried oil tank. Prior to the sale, the buyers had the tank inspected, and no leaks were detected. A leak was discovered in 2009 -- 12 years after we had moved out of the house -- and the buyers' "expert" claimed that the leak had started circa 1989, before we bought the house in 1993. The sellers are now coming after us, claiming that we are solely responsible for remediation, soil cleanup, and anything that might go wrong in the future (what sounds like an open-ended claim). They also claim that they are completely indemnified from any damages. How is it that *we* can be found liable 12 years after we sold the house for a leak that supposedly started four years before we bought the house? Thanks for any advice.

Asked on 10/01/10, 11:23 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC
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You should take the matter seriously. If a complaint has been filed, you should obtain representation in New Jersey in order to have the claim investigated and answered. At the same time, you should tender the matter to the insurance company which held your homeowner's insurance for the house. The period you describe is around the time when many insurance companies were deleting the polution clauses from their policies, but you could get lucky. There is not much more that can be said without knowing the details of the contract and the nature of the damage. If I can be of further help to you, call or email. /p/ See also: http://info.corbettlaw.net/lawguru.htm

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Answered on 10/07/10, 6:29 am


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