Several months ago we wrote about a then-pending challenge before the New Jersey Supreme Court over the question of whether the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (the “Spill Act”), N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq. was subject to New Jersey’s six year statute of limitations for property damage under N.J.S.A. 2A:14-1. In August 2013 the New Jersey Superior Court said yes. This year New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ruled no.
In a unanimous decision the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned the Superior Court’s 2013 decision in Morristown Assocs. v. Grant Oil Co., 74 A.3d 968 (N.J. App. Div. 2013) and held that contribution claims under the Spill Act were not subject to a six year statute of limitations. Morristown Assocs. v. Grant Oil Co., 220 N.J. 360 (2015). This decision, assuming it is not overturned by legislative action, provides parties essentially an unlimited period of time in which to bring contribution actions.
This decision should be of great comfort to parties engaged in the process of remediating sites as it ensures they will have sufficient time to identify potential contributors and attempt to negotiate an amicable resolution of liability.