376.313 Nonexclusiveness of remedies and individual cause of action for damages under ss. 376.30-376.317.—
(1) The remedies in ss. 376.30-376.317 shall be deemed to be cumulative and not exclusive.
(2) Nothing in ss. 376.30-376.317 requires the pursuit of any claim against the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund or the Inland Protection Trust Fund as a condition precedent to any other remedy.
(3) Except as provided in s. 376.3078(3) and (11), nothing contained in ss. 376.30-376.317 prohibits any person from bringing a cause of action in a court of competent jurisdiction for all damages resulting from a discharge or other condition of pollution covered by ss. 376.30-376.317. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit or diminish a party’s right to contribution from other parties jointly or severally liable for a prohibited discharge of pollutants or hazardous substances or other pollution conditions. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4) or subsection (5), in any such suit, it is not necessary for such person to plead or prove negligence in any form or manner. Such person need only plead and prove the fact of the prohibited discharge or other pollutive condition and that it has occurred. The only defenses to such cause of action shall be those specified in s. 376.308.
(4) In any civil action brought after July 1, 1986, against the owner or operator of a petroleum storage system for damages arising from a petroleum storage system discharge, the provisions of subsection (3) shall not apply if it can be proven that, at the time of the discharge:
(a) The alleged damages resulted solely from a discharge from a petroleum storage system which was installed, replaced, or retrofitted, and maintained, in a manner consistent with the construction, operation, repair, and maintenance standards established for such systems under chapter 62-761, Florida Administrative Code, as that chapter may hereafter be amended. The requirement of consistency with such standards may be satisfied only by being in compliance with the standards at the time of the discharge, regardless of the time specified for compliance under the schedule provided in said chapter.
(b) A leak detection system or systems or a monitoring well or wells were installed and operating in a manner consistent with technical requirements of chapter 62-761, Florida Administrative Code, as that chapter may hereafter be amended; and
(c) All inventory, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements of chapter 62-761, Florida Administrative Code, as that chapter may hereafter be amended, have been and are being complied with.
Any person bringing such an action must prove negligence to recover damages under this subsection. For the purposes of this subsection, noncompliance with this act, or any of the rules promulgated pursuant hereto, as the same may hereafter be amended, shall be prima facie evidence of negligence.
(5)(a) In any civil action against the owner or operator of a drycleaning facility or a wholesale supply facility, or the owner of the real property on which such facility is located, if such facility is not eligible under s. 376.3078(3) and is not involved in voluntary cleanup under s. 376.3078(11), for damages arising from the discharge of drycleaning solvents from a drycleaning facility or wholesale supply facility, the provisions of subsection (3) shall not apply if it can be proven that, at the time of the discharge the alleged damages resulted solely from a discharge from a drycleaning facility or wholesale supply facility that was in compliance with department rules regulating drycleaning facilities or wholesale supply facilities.
(b) Any person bringing such an action must prove negligence in order to recover damages under this subsection. For the purposes of this subsection, noncompliance with s. 376.303 or s. 376.3078, or any of the rules promulgated pursuant thereto, or any applicable state or federal law or regulation, as the same may hereafter be amended, shall be prima facie evidence of negligence.
(6) The court, in issuing any final judgment in any such action, may award costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney’s and expert witness fees) to any party, whenever the court determines such an award is in the public interest.
History.—s. 84, ch. 83-310; s. 12, ch. 84-338; ss. 20, 21, ch. 86-159; s. 12, ch. 92-30; s. 10, ch. 94-355; s. 6, ch. 95-239; ss. 17, 18, ch. 98-75; s. 12, ch. 98-189; s. 6, ch. 2003-276; s. 68, ch. 2007-5.