Plaintiffs, after prevailing in an action against property owners they alleged were the sole dischargers liable pursuant to the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, brought suit seeking clean-up contribution under the Spill Act from other owners of the same property.
The court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment, holding the doctrine of judicial estoppel was a defense to Spill Act claims. Although plaintiffs possessed information sufficient to put them on notice of possible Spill Act claims against other property owners, they did not name those owners as defendants in the first action. The court held the application of judicial estoppel to Spill Act claims compels plaintiffs to pursue in a single action all dischargers that are known or knowable. Plaintiffs' subsequent action against the dischargers of which they had notice was precluded.