Attorney Blog

New Developments in Environmental Law

McGregor & Legere Obtains $1.35 Million for Client for City’s Illegal Blockage of House Construction

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 03 August 2021 13:38

In 2015 we won on behalf of client Scotty Thyng a million-dollar verdict in Norfolk Superior Court (Civil Action No. 2010-01449) against officials of the City of Quincy.

22nd Annual MCLE Environmental, Land Use & Energy Law Conference (Virtual) on March 4, 2021: Best Practices For Emerging Issues Featured

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 24 February 2021 14:34

There was no shortage of important 2020 developments in federal, state and local environmental law, despite Covid-19. This MCLE annual offering, co-chaired by firm founder Gregor McGregor, Esq. and former MassDEP counsel Pamela Harvey, Esq, features well-known speakers.

McGregor Presents "Environmental Law 2019-2020: Legal Developments in Wetlands and Water Law For Conservation Commissions"

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 24 February 2021 13:51

The Firm’s newest PowerPoint updating wetlands and water law for those who are involved with applications, plans, permits and enforcement by Conservation Commissions is available to readers of this site. Gregor McGregor presented it to the Massachusetts Society of Municipal Conservation Professionals in a luncheon webcast January 27, 2021.

Appeals Court Summary Decisions In 2020 Involving Municipal Boards Give Insights On Email Settlements, Constructive Approvals, and Permit Extensions

Written by
/ Published Friday, 05 February 2021 10:06

Three selected 2020 summary decisions of the Massachusetts Appeals Court illustrate, in short and sweet opinions, the implications of settlement negotiations by emails, tactical moves while challenging a local board’s decision, the ins and outs of getting permit extensions, what happens in court review of a tribunal’s decision, and how a well-maintained document record, well-run deliberation, and well-written decision can determine who wins or loses and why.

Appeals Court Rules Conservation Restrictions are Enforceable Against Violators for Monetary Damages, Not Just Equitable Relief Like Restoration and Replanting

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 25 November 2020 14:36

In its August 10, 2020, decision in the case of Wellesley Conservation Council, Inc. v. Pereira (AC 19-P-753), the Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed the scope of enforcement options available to the holder of a Conservation Restriction (CR), in particular whether injunctive relief (like restoration and replanting) is the holder’s sole remedy for violations of the CR’s terms, or does it include money damages, too. The answer is yes to damages.

Appeals Court Takes The Mystery Ouf Of Altering One - and Two-Family Preexisting Nonconforming Residences: No More "Grandfathering"

Written by
/ Published Wednesday, 12 August 2020 12:21

The decision of the Appeals Court in Henry W. Comstock, Jr., Trustee and another v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Gloucester and others, authored by Justice James Milkey, illustrates the strong protections afforded by G.L. c. 40 A, section 6 to owners of single- or two-family preexisting nonconforming residences who want to renovate their residences. They are protected by significant obstacles to neighbor opponents of such projects on account of minor issues.

Assessing Civil Penalties for Violating Zoning Bylaws or State Building Code: Appeals Court Says to Adhere Closely to the Correct Process

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 28 July 2020 09:32

A June 15, 2020 opinion of the Massachusetts Appeals Court reminds building inspectors and other municipal officials of the trilogy of remedies to assess money penalties for zoning and building code violations and to be sure to follow the proper procedures. There are lessons as well for any local officials who have been given the power to issue citations using the non-criminal disposition procedures of G.L. c 40, § 21D. The Appeals Court’s decision is Michael J. Maroney, Trustee et al v. Planning Board of Haverhill et al, 19-P-566, 97 Mass. App. Ct. 678 (2020).

Appeals Court Holds a Land Court Settlement Agreement Doesn’t Bind a Non-Party, Distinguishing Morganelli

Written by
/ Published Friday, 26 June 2020 12:13

In a clear, well-reasoned opinion deciding the case of Stevens, Trustee v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Bourne, No. 19-P-248 (June 19, 2020), the Appeals Court (Green, C.J.) held that a settlement agreement between the Town’s selectmen and a property owner resolving a Land Court action did not bind an abutter who was not party to the litigation.

Supreme Court Rules A Clean Water Act Permit Can Be Required for Groundwater Discharges By Maui County Into Navigable Waters

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 12 May 2020 13:03

On April 23, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund et al., No. 18-260, 590 U.S. __ (April 23, 2020), ruling that the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) may require a permit when a point source discharges pollutants to navigable waters through groundwater. This decision has been eagerly awaited by industry, government, and the bar.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules CERCLA Does Not Preclude State Law Claims For Contaminated Sites: Superfund and EPA Are Not The Only Game In Town

Written by
/ Published Tuesday, 28 April 2020 10:37

In a recent decision with far-reaching implications for owners of contaminated property, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, often referred to as the federal Superfund law) does not preclude claims under state laws for further cleanup of contaminated sites.

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