Hurricane Harvey greatly impacted Houston and other areas of the Gulf Coast, with Hurricane Irma following close behind in the Caribbean, Florida and the Southeast. The widespread impact of the wind and flooding from these severe weather events will undoubtedly include conditions caused by chemical and petroleum releases. As with other effects of these storms, the lasting consequences of such hazardous material releases are yet to be fully apprehended. Those thoughts are according to Peter Duchesneau, an environmental litigation partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP and Michael C. Polentz, co-chair of the real estate and land use practice Group.

According to the team, “given the potential for the hurricanes to have caused or exacerbated property contamination, two seldom-invoked, biblical-sounding cleanup liability limitations may come into play: the act of God and the Good Samaritan defenses.” And although both liability limitations seem custom-made for these events, the team says that “given the widespread flooding befitting Noah’s Ark, experience has shown that neither will likely have broad application in the wake of these colossal storms.”

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel,, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including and Museums New York magazine.

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