Environmental

KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS HEALTHY, SAFE, AND PROSPEROUS

Sudden environmental issues can not only affect your bottom line, but also cause devastating pollution and pose major health risks. Our Environmental Practice Group is comprised of industry leaders who work diligently to protect the rights of our clients, including property owners, lessees, developers, insurers, public entities, contractors, real estate investors, lenders, and engineers. We offer the full spectrum of legal representation, from litigation, counseling, permitting, regulatory, and transactional services, anticipating matters before they wreak havoc on your business.

 

WE COVER VAST ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, SAFETY, AND LAND USE REGULATIONS, INCLUDING:

  • Contamination;
  • Hazardous and solid wastes;
  • Toxic and radioactive materials;
  • Wetlands and floodplains;
  • Air emissions;
  • Indoor air;
  • Wastewater and stormwater discharges;
  • Tideland;
  • Facility siting;
  • Endangered species;
  • Underground storage tanks;
  • Asbestos and lead paint;
  • Worker safety; and
  • Environmental impact reviews.

 

GROUP MEMBERS

Group members are available to provide regulatory compliance counseling and audits, provide environmental advice related to SEC compliance, conduct internal investigations, and participate in the planning for and response to governmental inspections and investigations.

Our group’s litigation services encompass both affirmative and defensive actions, at the administrative, trial, and appellate levels, and include:

  • Site contamination cases under Chapter 21E and CERCLA (whether involving cleanup obligations, cost recovery, diminished property value, natural resource damages, or economic loss);
  • Environmental permitting and land use appeals;
  • Environmental enforcement actions;
  • Penalty and remedial actions under OSHA and other workplace safety regulations;
  • Asbestos and other toxic tort claims;
  • Landlord/tenant disputes involving alleged health, safety, and environmental risks; and
  • Environmental and toxic tort insurance coverage litigation.

WE REGULARLY REPRESENT BUSINESSES, PROPERTY OWNERS, AND OTHER CLIENTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING, COMPLIANCE, REGULATORY, AND TRANSACTIONAL MATTERS, INCLUDING:

  • Obtaining local, state, and federal environmental approvals and permits;
  • Advice and representation in connection with real estate contamination issues, including the preparation, review and evaluation of environmental site assessments, the preparation of Activity and Use Limitations, and evaluation and monitoring of compliance with the Massachusetts Contingency Plan;
  • MEPA and NEPA compliance;
  • Brownfields redevelopment;
  • Title 5 septic system issues;
  • Implementation of the LEED Green Building Rating SystemTM ; and
  • Due diligence reviews, environmental disclosures, and other assistance in connection with corporate and real estate transactions.

Contamination

  • Prevailed at trial and on appeal in a case involving contamination of commercial property, recovering cleanup costs, and lost rental income.
  • Convinced a state radiation safety agency to reverse a decision that was impeding settlement of a major landlord/tenant dispute involving alleged contamination of an industrial building.
  • Represented the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority on environmental matters, including litigation involving gasoline contamination at Turnpike rest areas.
  • Settled hundreds of asbestos personal injury claims against a client for an average paid claim value of less than $1000.
  • Successfully tried a toxic tort insurance coverage action.

Brownfields

  • Successfully negotiated the ground lease of a brownfields site for a retail development and helped a condominium association ensure proper closeout of a brownfields site by a developer.

Water Quality

  • Negotiated a consent order for conversion of an apartment complex from septic systems to a private onsite wastewater treatment system.

Environmental

  • Addressed global environmental issues for a major multinational public company.
  • Provided environmental compliance counseling to clients in the life sciences, construction, energy, health care, financial services, and hospitality industries.
  • Won a trial against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection before its own hearing officer, reversing state and local wetlands permitting and enforcement actions that had prevented a subsided commercial parking lot from being returned to its previously permitted elevation.
  • Settled a $3.8 million environmental property damage claim against a client for $450,000.
  • Obtained from state officials an unprecedented covenant not to sue, an agreement to establish a Special Review Procedure for a phased development project under MEPA, and a decision not to prosecute an alleged environmental crime in light of evidence of governmental acquiescence.
  • Helped draft the provisions of the Massachusetts Contingency Plan relating to Activity and Use Limitations and the Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional regulations, and helped reorganize the state’s approach to environmental enforcement actions to ensure greater consistency and predictability and distinguish criminal violations from those better redressed civilly or administratively.
  • Obtained a landmark decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upholding the state’s Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Act and developed a legal argument accepted by that court regarding application of the “discovery rule” in connection with statute of limitations defenses in private actions for environmental property damage.
  • Submitted appellate briefs to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Rhode Island Supreme Court that, respectively, opposed judicial expansion of the scope of MEPA to cover health risks unrelated to environmental releases, and helped reverse a trial court’s expansion of public nuisance doctrine to impose retroactive, unforeseeable, no-fault liability for the lawful sale of lead paint.
  • Helped “write the book” on assessment of indoor air contamination.
  • As common counsel to about 40 waste generators, negotiated an early settlement of a complex  private Superfund action, with settlement payments by each equaling less than the transaction costs of continued litigation alone.
  • Write and lecture extensively on topics of environmental law and litigation.