12 Jun 2014
This week, the US Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of CT Corp. v. Waldburger. The decision dealt with whether the federal Superfund law’s statute of limitations trumps North Carolina’s statute of repose. In an uncharacteristically short opinion, the Court held that it does not.
Defendant CTS contaminated property which it sold and which was then resold to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sued under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (the Superfund statute or CERCLA). CERCLA’s statute of limitations states that if there is a State statute of limitations that begins to run before the federal limitations period begins, then the typically long federal period (which includes a provision that does not “start the clock” until the wrong was “discovered”) to bring suit governs. North Carolina has what’s called a “statute of repose” which, in this case, lapsed in 1997, 14 years before the plaintiffs discovered their injuries and filed suit. (more…)