New Jersey Supreme Court Holds No Recovery For Storage Tank Leak Under Trespass or Private Nuisance Absent Owner Misconduct
In New Jersey, a property owner affected by a release from an underground storage tank cannot succeed on a private nuisance or trespass action absent demonstration of the tank owner’s intentional, negligent or reckless conduct. Moreover, neither the tank owner’s insurer’s agreement to remediate the affected property nor the migration of the leaked substance onto the affected property conveys the affected property owner third party beneficiary status such that the property owner can maintain a bad faith action against the insurance provider. In Ross v. Lowitz, No. A-101-13 (N.J. Aug. 6, 2015), the New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued a decision narrowing the avenues to recovery of property owners affected by a release from a neighboring underground storage tank by clarifying these two rules.