SOL does not begin to run until owner is ordered to cleanup property, regardless of whether owner earlier knew or should have known about need for cleanup

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Shepard, Chief Justice.
The question here is whether a property owner’s claim for contribution toward environmental cleanup costs is barred by the statute of limitation if the owner should have known about the contamination more than ten years before the complaint was filed. We hold that the statute of limitation does not begin to run until the owner is ordered to cleanup the property, regardless of whether an owner earlier knew or should have known about the need for cleanup.
Conclusion (slip op. at 7):  We reverse the trial court’s order of dismissal and remand the case for further proceedings on the merits.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 5, 6, 7):  Because the damage at issue in the Pflanzes’ contribution claim is the cleanup obligation assessed by IDEM that resulted from Foster’s use of the land, the statute of limitation did not begin to accrue until after the Pflanzes were ordered to clean up the property. Accordingly, because IDEM ordered the Pflanzes to pay for the environmental cleanup costs in 2001, the Pflanzes filed their contribution claim well within the ten-year statute of limitation . . . The Pflanzes’ claim for stigma damages cannot possibly have been outside the statute of limitation period. The Pflanzes first incurred cleanup costs in 2001 and filed their claim in 2006 . . . We cannot accept the trial court’s holding that, as a matter of law, the passage of the USTA automatically put landowners on notice that they should inspect and monitor any underground storage tanks on their property even if the former property owners had assured them the tanks were closed and not in use.
Dickson, Sullivan, Boehm, Rucker, JJ., concur.

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