There is a gap in tort recovery for many hazardous release victims. Hazardous spill victims receive different damage compensation based solely upon the type of hazardous substance released, with oil spill victims benefitting from a number of statutory damage recovery mechanisms that victims of other type of hazardous substance releases do not receive. Specifically, those injured by oil spills receive interim payments and recover for their economic loss. Yet, many victims injured by non-oil hazardous spills will incur economic harm but will not receive compensation because of a prohibition on recovery for economic loss absent accompanying physical injury or private property damage. That prohibition on recovery, known as the “pure economic loss rule,” serves as an effective bar to recovery for most spill victims because hazardous releases often damage public natural resources (such as water) rather than private property. This Article articulates normative policy for expanding interim payments and pure economic loss recovery to a larger class of private-party hazardous release than just those injured by oil.
Julie E. Steiner, Interim Payments and Economic Damages to Compensate Private-Party Victims of Hazardous Releases, 98 MARQ. L. REV. 1313 (2015).