Bryan Cohen Jun. 2, 2014, 3:16pm

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced a court ruling on Thursday against the current and former property owners of a Gloucester County day care center that was allegedly contaminated with mercury.

Superior Court Judge Anne McDonnell ruled that multiple defendants were liable for a total of $6.13 million to cover the cost of cleaning up mercury contamination at the site of Kiddie Kollege, a former day care center. McDonnell found that Jim Sullivan Inc., the current owner of the property; Navillus Group, the former owner of the site; and other defendants affiliated with Jim Sullivan Inc. are liable for costs related to the clean-up and removal of mercury. The mercury was discharged by a thermometer-making factory that was located on the property before Sullivan bought it and leased it to be used as a day care.

McDonnell also ruled that Philip Giuliano, the previous property owner, and the defunct thermometer manufacturing company he owned, Accutherm Inc., were also legally responsible for clean-up costs.

"This is a very significant legal win for the people of New Jersey, and for our environment," Hoffman said. "It is only fitting that the original polluters - as well as those who bought the property from them and leased it to others without doing their homework -- are held accountable."

According to the ruling, all defendants share a total liability for $2.04 million for remediation of the Kiddie Kollege property. Giuliano and Accutherm are liable for an additional $4.09 million because they allegedly failed to comply with a directive from the Department of Environmental Protection to clean up the original contamination.

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