Health & Safety Code Section 361.275
(a)Except as provided by Section 361.2755 (Scrap Metal Recycling Transactions; Defense), a person responsible for solid waste under Section 361.271 (Persons Responsible for Solid Waste) is liable under Section 361.272 (Administrative Orders Concerning Imminent and Substantial Endangerment) or 361.273 (Injunction as Alternative to Administrative Order) unless the person can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the release or threatened release was caused solely by:
(1)an act of God;
(2)an act of war;
(3)an act or omission of a third person; or
(4)any combination of Subdivisions (1), (2), and (3).
(b)In a defense under Subsection (a)(3), the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant:
(1)exercised due care concerning the solid waste, considering the characteristics of the solid waste, in light of all relevant facts and circumstances; and
(2)took precautions against foreseeable acts or omissions of the third person and the consequences that could foreseeably result from those acts or omissions.
(c)The defense under Subsection (a)(3) does not apply if the third person:
(1)is an employee or agent of the defendant; or
(2)has a direct or indirect contractual relationship with the defendant and the act or omission of the third person occurred in connection with the contractual relationship.
(d)In Subsection (c)(2), “contractual relationship” includes land contracts, deeds, or other instruments transferring title or possession of real property.
(e)A defendant who enters into a contractual relationship as provided by Subsection (c)(2) is not liable under this subchapter if:
(1)the sole contractual relationship is acceptance for rail carriage by a common carrier under a published tariff; or
(2)the defendant acquired the real property on which the facility requiring the remedial action is located, after the disposal or placement of the hazardous substance on, in, or at the facility and the defendant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(A)the defendant has satisfied Subsection (b);
(B)at the time the defendant acquired the facility the defendant did not know and had no reason to know that a hazardous substance that is the subject of the release or threatened release was disposed of on, in, or at the facility;
(C)the defendant is a governmental entity that acquired the facility by escheat, by other involuntary transfer or acquisition, or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain; or
(D)the defendant acquired the facility by inheritance or bequest.
(f)To demonstrate the condition under Subsection (e)(2)(B), the defendant must have made, at the time of acquisition, appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property consistent with good commercial or customary practice in an effort to minimize liability. In deciding whether the defendant meets this condition, the court shall consider:
(1)any specialized knowledge or experience of the defendant;
(2)the relationship of the purchase price to the value of the property if the property were uncontaminated;
(3)commonly known or reasonably ascertainable information about the property;
(4)the obvious presence or likely presence of contamination of the property; and
(5)the defendant’s ability to detect the contamination by appropriate inspection.
(g)This section does not decrease the liability of a previous owner or operator of a facility who is liable under this chapter. If the defendant obtained actual knowledge of the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance at a facility at the time the defendant owned the real property on which the facility is located and subsequently transferred ownership of the property to another person without disclosing that knowledge, the defendant is liable and a defense under this section is not available to the defendant.
(h)Subsections (e)-(g) do not affect the liability under this chapter of a defendant who, by an act or omission, caused or contributed to the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance that is the subject of the action concerning the facility.
Section 361.275 — Defenses,
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/HS/htm/HS.361.htm#361.275 (accessed Nov. 25, 2023).