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Edwards v. First National Bank of North East

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
712 A.2d 33 (1998)


Randy and Cynthia Edwards (plaintiffs) owned and lived on residential property next to a gas station. First National Bank of North East (the Bank) (defendant) held a mortgage on the gas station. The owner of the gas station defaulted and the Bank purchased the gas station at a foreclosure sale. Approximately five months later, the Bank removed the underground storage tanks from the gas station. Right before the Bank purchased the gas station, the Edwardses dug a new well in their yard and two months later noticed the smell of gasoline. The Edwardses’ well water tested positive for PH-petroleum hydrocarbons. The Edwardses brought suit against the Bank in the Circuit Court for Cecil County. The Edwardses brought common law claims for negligence, nuisance, and trespass. The Bank filed a motion to dismiss based on a Maryland statute that, according to the Bank, abrogated all common law claims for groundwater contamination against commercial lenders. Specifically, the statute shielded from liability a person who held “indicia of ownership in an underground oil storage tank primarily to protect its security interest in that underground oil storage tank,” if the person abandoned the tank within 180 days of acquiring the tank through foreclosure. The trial court granted the Bank’s motion. The Edwardses appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Byrnes, J.)

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