• Nexus Requirement Clarified Under New Jersey’s Spill Act
  • October 9, 2012 | Authors: Lindsay P. Howard; Timothy C. Wolfson
  • Law Firm: Babst Calland - Pittsburgh Office
  • In a decision issued September 26, 2012, the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified the standard for demonstrating causation in a claim for damages under the Spill Compensation and Control Act (Spill Act). The Court held that a plaintiff claiming damages, costs or other similar relief under the Spill Act must show a “reasonable nexus or connection” between the hazardous discharge at issue and the contamination at the damaged site, by a preponderance of the evidence. N.J. Dep’t. of Envtl. Prot. v. Ofra Dimant, No. 067993, — A.2d — (N.J. 2012). The Court rejected the more stringent common law “proximate cause” standard, as well as a more lenient causation standard (some connection) applicable in CERCLA claims, and chose a middle ground based on the purposes and legislative history of the Spill Act. In the end, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) found itself out of court, having failed to establish the requisite level of proof against the defendant.