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Tanglewood East Homeowners v. Charles-Thomas, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
849 F.2d 1568 (1988)


Facts

For over 25 years, United Creosoting Company (United) ran a wood-treatment facility that caused a significant amount of toxic waste accumulation on property in Montgomery County, Texas. Then, in 1973, residential development began at the property, which became known as the Tanglewood East Subdivision. In 1980, Tanglewood East Homeowners (Tanglewood) (plaintiffs) complained to state authorities about the contaminants. This prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to place the property on the National Priorities List for cleanup under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), causing great expense and inconvenience to Tanglewood. Tanglewood then sued Charles-Thomas, Inc. and others (defendants), including First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Conroe (First Federal) (defendant), along with many real estate developers, agents, agencies, and construction companies (defendants) for damages, response costs, and injunctive relief. The defendants asked the trial court to dismiss the case, claiming that CERCLA does not apply to them, because they did not introduce the contaminants onto the property. The trial court disagreed and denied the dismissal. First Federal appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Politz, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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