Cleaning up: "Resolving your environmental liabilities with other people’s money"

July, 2011Article
Smart Business Magazine

Smart Business spoke to David E. Cranston of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP about how not to get saddled with the cleanup costs in environmental contamination cases.
A client of ours faced significant costs in cleaning up property contaminated by the operations of its tenants many years earlier. The client’s former counsel opined pursuing claims against the tenants, who were mostly out of business, was not worth the time or money. Our investigation indicated otherwise. We learned that a tenant with a small scrap operation in the 1950s had changed names and its business, through a series of transactions, was acquired by a large publicly traded company. Another tenant, who was no longer doing business, had significant insurance assets. After prosecuting the claims that our client was about to abandon, we recovered several million dollars to pay for the cleanup.