Within hours of the Supreme Court's decision in CTS Corporation v. Waldburger, [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers], finding that that CERCLA's "discovery rule" did not preempt North Carolina's 10-year statute of repose, [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers], the United States Department of Justice asked the Eleventh Circuit to dismiss plaintiffs' claims alleging personal injuries as a result of exposure to TCE-contaminated drinking water at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina. Prompted in part by the speed in which the DOJ sought to dismiss these claims, the North Carolina legislature is now in the process of seeking to amend its statute of repose in order to allow plaintiffs to pursue personal injury claims related to exposure to hazardous substances unhindered by North Carolina's 10-year repose statute. This is certainly not unexpected and I would anticipate that in states that continue to have statutes of repose on the books, lawmakers will face increased pressure to rescind or amend these provisions to allow potentially injured parties the ability to pursue claims years (and perhaps decades) after the alleged exposure occurred.
By Steven M. Siros, Partner, Jenner & Block
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