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April 30, 2018

Environmental Lawsuits – “But, I’m Not the Polluter, Just the Landlord Next Door…”

Consider a straightforward hypothetical: Party A undertakes an activity at its property that causes pollution to migrate to an adjacent property.  The adjacent property owner sues Party A on the basis of Party A’s action or inaction.

Now, consider a wrinkle to the hypothetical: Party A is a tenant.  Party A undertakes an activity at the property at which it operates that causes pollution to migrate to an adjacent property.  The adjacent property owner sues Party A and also sues Party A’s landlord. 

What exposure does Party A’s landlord have to environmental civil liability?  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered this question in Sorbam Investments Ltd v Litwack.

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