Cleanup Contractor Hired By Bank Had No Duty to Buyer

An environmental consultant hired by a lender had no duty to a prospective buyer of contaminated property, a California appeals court ruled Feb. 8 ( Mao v. PIERS Envtl. Servs., Inc. , 2017 BL 37928, Cal. Ct. App., 6th Dist., unpublished 2/8/17 ).

Buyer Marlene Mao can’t pursue a negligence clam against PIERS Environmental Services Inc.—a company retained by the Bank of Santa Clara to conduct a pre-sale site investigation, the court said.

Petroleum contamination was discovered on the site after Mao purchased the property.

“Mao’s position as a prospective purchaser of commercial property, whose lender contracted with the defendant for an environmental investigation” as part of “the lender’s due diligence in funding the property purchase, does not support a legal duty as between PIERS and Mao,” the court said.

Judge Eugene M. Premo wrote the opinion, joined by Judges Conrad L. Rushing and Franklin D. Elia.

Seth Wesley Wiener in San Ramon, Cal. represented Mao.

Helbraun Law Firm in San Francisco represented PIERS.

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