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第九巡回下期双色球预测裁定根据CERCLA,应税购买者应承担责任

第九巡回赛 recently reversed a grant of summary judgment by 的United States District Court for 的Central District of 加利福尼亚州 in 加利福尼亚有毒物质控制局诉Westside Delivery,LLC(美国联邦法律第16-56558号,2018年WL 1973715号(2018年4月27日,9月Cir。)),认为在税收出售中购买不动产的被告“契约关系” with 的previous owner “in connection with” 的polluting activities, and therefore was not entitled to a third-party defense under 的Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). In this case, 加利福尼亚州’s environmental agency, 的Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), sought to recover clean up costs from a subsequent owner of 的contaminated property and 的owner asserted as a defense, recognized under 塞拉, that 的contamination was caused by a third party prior to it taking title with whom it had no 契约关系. The matter before 的court was one of first impression in 的Ninth Circuit: “在税收出售中购买不动产的被告是否有‘契约关系’ with 的previous owner of 的property within 的meaning of 塞拉?” ID。 在* 1。下期双色球预测 ’肯定的回答将使潜在的拖欠税款的房地产购买者停下来,他们可能会发现自己要对CERCLA的清理费用负责。

Davis Chemical Company (Davis) recycled spent solvents at its Lost Angeles, 加利福尼亚州 facility (the Site) from 1949 to 1990. In 1990, 的DTSC ordered that all hazardous-waste activities stop. Two years later, 的United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a preliminary assessment of 的Site and found substantial spillage. The 环保局 referred 的Site to DTSC for further investigation and remediation. During 的same period, 的then-owner, 的Davis Family Trust (which 的Court considered to be one and 的same with 的Davis Chemical Company) failed to pay property taxes and 的Los Angeles County Tax Collector sold 的Site at a tax auction in 2009. Auction materials did not list 的Site as potentially contaminated, but they warned bidders that it was their responsibility to investigate 的properties. 西送, LLC (Westside) submitted 的highest bid and took title pursuant to a tax deed, but did not conduct any operations on 的property. From 2010 through 2015, DTSC remediated 的Site and then sued Westside under 塞拉 to recover its cleanup costs.

Westside argued at trial that it was not liable because 的contamination was caused by Davis with whom it had no 契约关系. This defense is found in 42 U.S.C.§9607(b)(3),在某些情况下免除当前财产所有人的责任“契约关系” with 的actual wrongdoer that is related to that party’s liability. When Congress passed 的Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) in 1986, it added an innocent landowner defense for purchasers of real property and expressly defined, for 的first time, a “契约关系” to be those which occur by virtue of, among other things, documents which 转让 title to property. Westside, which did not qualify for 的innocent landowner defense, argued in 的trial court that it was nevertheless entitled to 的third-party defense because its tax deed, having been executed by 的tax collector, did not give rise to a “契约关系”和戴维斯地方下期双色球预测同意了该判决,对西区下期双色球预测作出了简易判决。

On appeal, 的Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that 的tax deed constituted a sufficient “契约关系” to overcome 的defense, confident that “国会并不打算将税收购买者与典型购买者区别对待。” 西送, 2018 WL 1973715, at *9. In arriving at its decision, 的Ninth Circuit first rejected 的notion that state law would apply in determining how to characterize 的relationship between 的Davis and Westside, which was critical because, under 加利福尼亚州 law, a tax deed is considered a new title from 的State, not merely a facilitation of 转让 from 的prior owner to 的new owner. The Court then went on to analyze, as a matter of federal law, whether 的tax sale constituted a “契约关系,”是否被视为涉及一次或两次转移的交易。

As a single transaction, 的Court concluded that under 的statutory definition of “契约关系” a tax deed fits “comfortably” within 的definition as an “instrument 转让ring…possession.” 西送,2018年WL 1973715,* 6; 也可以看看 42 U.S.C.§9601(35)(A). As viewed by 第九巡回赛, prior to 的tax deed, 的pre-tax-sale owner had 的legal right to possess 的Site. The tax deed deprived 的pre-tax-sale owner of its interest in 的Site and vested 的right to possession in Defendant. This, 的Court explained, is 的definition of a “transfer” in property law, and it was irrelevant that 的tax collector effectuated 的transfer.  

作为两次交易事件,“one in which 的government acquires an interest from 的tax-defaulted owner and a second in which 的government gives a new title to 的tax-sale purchaser,” 西送, 2018 WL 1973715, at *6, 的key question was whether there was a “契约关系” between 的tax collector and Davis, because if it not, then 的chain between Davis and Westside would have been broken. But relying on legislative history, case law, and 的statutory definition that exempted only certain types of involuntary 转让s from a “契约关系,” 的Ninth Circuit found that 的acquisition of title by 的tax collector was a “契约关系”根据CERCLA的定义,因此Westside和Davis彼此相处。 

在确定税收交易中存在合同关系之后,下期双色球预测接着确定该关系是否会导致Westside丧失主张辩护的资格,即戴维斯是否’发生污染活动“in connection with”与Westside的合同关系。下期双色球预测驳回西区’有关合同必须与有害物质有关或对第三方授予控制权的主张’的活动。下期双色球预测认为,这种狭窄的结构将使被告购买者在相关合同与有害物质无关时可以主张第三方抗辩。如此狭义的解释将消除对无辜的地主辩护的需要,因为大多数购买者已经受到了第三方辩护的保护。但是,下期双色球预测指出,它也不同意DTSC’s argument that 的“in connection with”在涉及被告所有人试图避免对先前所有人造成的污染承担赔偿责任的案件中,该条件不适用。而是“the ‘in connection with’ condition is intended to filter out those situations in which 的previous owner’污染行为或遗漏与其作为土地所有者的地位无关。” ID。 at *11. Accordingly, 的Court found, an owner can assert a third-party defense despite a 契约关系 with a polluting party when 的contamination is in no way related to 的its status as owner of 的land. Here, however, it was Davis’ actions that led to 的release of hazardous substances on 的Site while it owned 的Site. Thus, 的Ninth Circuit concluded that Westside was not entitled to 的third-party defense and reversed and remanded.

第九巡回赛’s decision in 西送 is likely to have a chilling effect on prospective purchasers who may receive more than what they bargained for when purchasing properties at a tax sale. Although engaging in due diligence before purchasing a tax-defaulted property would be 的ideal approach, unlike in a private transaction setting, it is usually not a possibility. Prospective purchasers often lack 的right to access a property before 的tax auction, and a review of publicly available information may not give a full picture of a Site’s potential environmental liability. In contrast, performing parties will certainly benefit from 的court’s holding in 西送。第九巡回赛’对...的广泛解释“契约关系”将有助于使业主承担根据CERCLA承担的补救费用。