Category: Areas of Practice

Controversies over industrial, commercial, and residential development erupt in court. Challenges can be brought to government regulations and permits. Federal, state, and local agencies bring enforcement actions to secure compliance. Landowners sue in eminent domain cases for increased money damages. Government goes against responsible parties for reimbursement for the costs of assessing, containing, and cleaning up hazardous waste.

Landowners and businesses harmed by contamination sue for negligence, nuisance, trespass, breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, and Superfund liability. Past and present owners, transporters, and generators of waste sue each other for contribution. In all these kinds of lawsuits, strong, competentrepresentation is important.

Our legal and consulting services emphasize litigation as a last but often necessary resort. We handle actions in court about agency authority and regulations, environmental impact statements, project construction, subdivisions and condominiums, sand and gravel operations, open meeting laws and public record statutes, hazardous waste facilities, Home Rule authority for cities and towns to adopt local environmental law, wetlands protection, historic preservation, coastal zone management, regulation of septic systems, air and water pollution control, protection of public lands, and judicial review of agency permit decisions.

In addition to precedent-setting cases, we handle routine cases such as enforcement and defense of zoning special permits and variances, subdivision approvals, sand and gravel permits, site plan reviews, and wetland permits. We handle suits for personal injuries or damages to real estate. We handle enforcement of easements, covenants, and other restrictions. And we handle challenges to government regulations. In some of these cases we represent the regulating agency as Special Town Counsel or Special City Solicitor. In others, we represent the regulated party, such as the landowner, corporation, or the business. In others we represent persons protected by environmental law, such as individuals, citizen groups, public interest organizations, and business entities.

Lately, environmental litigation has expanded from the courts into government agency hearings. More and more agency permits and enforcement orders are litigated before hearing officers in administrative trials. We handle a variety of these before the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Massachusetts. We also appear regularly before planning boards, boards of appeal, conservation commissions, boards of health, and other local agencies where hearings are becoming more formal and where technical evidence is becoming more necessary.

We enjoy finding ways to avoid litigation. Where it cannot be avoided, we enjoy shaping environmental policy in the forum of the courtroom.