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      CCP 1563     

  

Art. 1563.  Limited admission of liability in environmental damage lawsuits; effect

A.(1)  If any party admits liability for environmental damage pursuant to R.S. 30:29, that party may elect to limit this admission of liability for environmental damage to responsibility for implementing the most feasible plan to evaluate, and if necessary, remediate all or a portion of the contamination that is the subject of the litigation to applicable regulatory standards, hereinafter referred to as a "limited admission".  A limited admission shall not be construed as an admission of liability for damages under R.S. 30:29(H), nor shall a limited admission result in a waiver of any rights or defenses of the admitting party.

(2) Upon the expiration of the delay in which a party may file a limited admission under Subparagraph (5) of this Paragraph, and if one or more of the defendants have made a timely limited admission, the court shall refer the matter to the Department of Natural Resources, office of conservation, hereinafter referred to as the "department", to conduct a public hearing to approve or structure a plan which the department determines to be the most feasible plan to evaluate or remediate the environmental damage under the applicable regulatory standards pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 30:29. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the plan approved or structured by the department, after consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality as appropriate, shall be the most feasible plan to evaluate or remediate the environmental damage under the applicable regulatory standards pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 30:29.  For cases tried by a jury, the court shall instruct the jury regarding this presumption if requested by a party.

(3)  The limited admission, the plan approved by the department, and all written comments provided by the agencies pursuant to R.S. 30:29(C)(3)(b) shall be admissible subject to the Code of Evidence Articles 702 through 705 and Code of Civil Procedure Article 1425 as evidence in any action.

(4)  At any time after the filing of a civil action subject to the provisions of R.S. 30:29 and, absent good cause shown, no later than ninety days after the completion of the environmental testing set forth in the environmental management order issued by the court pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure Article 1552, any party may make a limited admission by filing the same into the record of the court proceeding.

(5)  Any other party who intends to make a limited admission for the same or any other environmental damage shall file it into the record of the court proceeding within sixty days of the filing of the first limited admission by another party. Any limited admission filed by another party after the first limited admission is filed shall be filed no later than ninety days following the completion of the environmental testing set forth in the environmental management order.

(6)  The party making a limited admission shall be required to deposit with the department sufficient funds to cover the cost of the department's review of the plans or submittals under R.S. 30:29, including the cost of holding a public hearing to approve or structure the feasible plan.  The initial payment of these costs shall be in an amount of one hundred thousand dollars.  This initial payment shall be deposited prior to or along with the submission of the plan by the admitting party.  The admitting party shall be entitled to reimbursement of any portion of the deposit that is unused by the department.  Within thirty days of the department's filing of the plan, the party admitting responsibility for implementing the most feasible plan shall reimburse the plaintiff for those costs which the court determines to be recoverable under R.S. 30:29(E)(1).

B.  The provisions of this Article shall not establish primary jurisdiction with the Department of Natural Resources.

Acts 2012, No. 754, §1; Acts 2014, No. 400, §2.


NOTE:  See Acts 2012, No. 754, §2 and Acts 2014, No. 400, §3, relative to applicability.




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