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新泽西州 Appellate Division Ruling Expands the List of Potential Owners Eligible for 无辜党 Grants under the 布朗菲尔德法

新泽西州’的《布朗菲尔德和受污染场地修复法》(“Brownfield Act”) provides that a “person”拥有受污染财产的人可能有权获得危险排放场地补救基金无辜方补助金(“innocent party grant”) to pay for remediation of the property so long as that 人 meets two requirements: (i) the 人 acquired the property prior to 十二月 31, 1983 and continued to hold it until the 无辜的政党补助 is approved, and (ii) the 人 did not contribute to the contamination at the property. 新泽西州58:10B-6(a)(4)。

In a decision issued last week, the 新泽西州 Superior Court, Appellate Division, held that 雪松山丘 2006, LLC (“Cedar Knolls”) was eligible for an 无辜的政党补助 for the remediation of its property even though 雪松山丘 was not technically the same “person”在法定截止日期之前获得财产的人。 (雪松山丘 2006, LLC v. NJDEP,Dkt。编号:A-1405-15T3(2017年9月20日,新泽西州超级法院))。  In doing so, the Superior Court explained that, with respect to owners eligible for 无辜的政党补助s, the 布朗菲尔德法 was more concerned with the “所有权和连续性的实质要比法律形式的技术要深。”

雪松山丘寻求无辜的当事人赠款,以弥补与污染资产相关的补救费用,该污染资产是通过一系列在1983年12月31日截止日期之前的家庭成员之间的转让而获得的。特别是在1977年,罗伯特·希金森(Robert Higginson)购买了该物业,然后将其转让给了他的妻子伊夫林(Evelyn)。 她将财产所有权转移给两个信托,并将其转移给儿子威廉。 2006年,William将这些权益从信托转移到他控制的新实体Cedar Knolls,然后拥有该物业100%的权益。 

In 2015, 雪松山丘 applied to NJDEP for an 无辜的政党补助. Although it was uncontroverted that 雪松山丘 had not contributed to the contamination at issue, NJDEP denied the application because 雪松山丘 was not a “person” who had “在1983年12月31日之前购买了该物业。” 锡达·诺尔斯(Cedar Knolls)对该决定提出上诉,而高等法院推翻了该决定。

高等法院的结论是,没有“change in ownership”从罗伯特·希金森(Robert Higginson)于1977年购置该房产起直至现在,尽管该家族成员之间进行了转移,但该法案仍适用于《布朗菲尔德法》。在得出有关《布朗菲尔德法》的结论时,高级法院参考了相关的《工业场地修复法》(“ISRA”),也与受污染场地的修复有关。 法院解释说,ISRA是在“any transaction or proceeding through which an industrial establishment undergoes a 所有权变更.” 但是的定义“change in ownership”根据ISRA,不包括转让“转让人是兄弟姊妹,配偶,子女,父母,祖父母,兄弟姊妹的子女或受让人父母的兄弟姊妹。” 看到 新泽西州13:1K-8。  The Superior Court relied on this language in ISRA to conclude that the 新泽西州 legislature intended for 无辜的政党补助s to extend to an innocent owner so long as there is “实体之间实益拥有权的基本连续性。” 

因此,高等法院’s decision establishes at least one instance in which an owner may still be entitled to an 无辜的政党补助 even though it is not necessarily the same “person”在1983年之前购买了该物业。