A recent ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals examines liability under Indiana’s Environmental Legal Action statute (“ELA”). The ruling in JDN Properties, Inc. v. VanMeter Enterprises, Inc., 2014 WL 4656543 (Ind. App. Sept. 19, 2014), potentially extends ELA liability to landlords who have knowledge that their tenants have created pollution, even if the landlords had no involvement in “causing” the contamination.
The potential ramifications of VanMeter could be significant. An example would be landlords with who have acquired knowledge of contamination through bank-finance testing or through property management communications. If such landlords do “nothing to halt or remediate such contamination” and subsequently sell the property without disclosing the contamination, they could face ELA liability under the VanMeter holding.