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Environmental Law

SRBC’s Environmental Law Practice Group has proven its effectiveness in pursuing and defending environmental claims in a variety of situations. In many cases, we have used innovative legal arguments and litigation strategies to obtain particularly favorable results for our clients.

A substantial part of our practice entails state and federal litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, but we are also experienced in handling contentious permit proceedings, defending administrative enforcement actions, settling disputes through negotiation and mediation, and providing counseling and strategic advice on regulatory compliance.

We have particular depth of experience with claims involving oil and hazardous materials contamination, and with environmental issues that arise in the context of real estate and corporate transactions, land use disputes and the development or redevelopment of property. Our attorneys have successfully handled wetlands, tidelands, air, water and other permit claims, as well as site-assignment proceedings for landfills and other facilities, and negotiations for brownfields covenant-not-to-sue agreements. We also have significant experience with Superfund litigation, as well as in cases involving other environmental statutes and regulations and common law theories. In 2012 and 2014 Lisa Goodheart, Chair of the Practice Group, was named Environmental Litigation Lawyer of the Year by The Best Lawyers in America.  In addition, she has been recognized as a leading environmental lawyer in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and Massachusetts Super Lawyers.

Our clients in the environmental area are diverse. We represent property owners and real estate developers, manufacturing companies, industrial facility operators, regulated utilities, municipalities, land conservation groups and other non-profit organizations, design and engineering professionals, secured lenders, creditors’ trustees, insurers and insureds, and others. In each case, we work to develop and execute a strategy that is informed by the law, focused on the facts, driven by the clients’ goals, and calculated to obtain the best results in the most efficient manner.

Representative Matters:

  • Successful negotiation of insurance payment in excess of $2 million to our client, under an environmental cleanup cost policy, to resolve a claim for coverage of DNAPL remediation costs, which were incurred in response to a MassDEP notice of audit findings.
  • Obtained $4.6 million judgment on behalf of plaintiff office park owner against two former tenants, in a case arising from TCE contamination of groundwater.  The litigation involved a 3-week jury trial on breach of contract and Chapter 21E cost recovery claims, followed by a non-jury trial on bad faith claims for attorneys’ fees.  Ultimately, the case went to the SJC, where our client prevailed on all claims and counterclaims and received an award of appellate attorneys’ fees on top of a seven-figure award for attorneys’ fees incurred in the trial court.
  • Successful trial defense of a bank against claims for breach of a multi-party agreement to fund the cleanup of a borrower’s contaminated property. In addition to defeating the plaintiff’s claims at trial, the bank was awarded litigation fees and costs, based on the plaintiff’s bad-faith assertion of response-cost claims that were dropped on the eve of trial.
  • Representation of a municipal wastewater treatment commission in the successful defense against a series of legal challenges, including successive cases before the Appeals Court and the SJC, brought by citizen groups and abutters seeking to vacate the essential groundwater discharge permits for the commission’s upgraded wastewater treatment facility. 
  • Litigation for injunctive relief on behalf of a fish processing company against a city official. The action stemmed from the official’s emergency shutdown of the facility, based on alleged violations of various environmental, public health and safety, and zoning laws. After the court issued a preliminary injunction and a strongly worded decision in the company’s favor, all enforcement issues were resolved by a favorable settlement.
  • Trial representation of the purchaser of a former woolen mill property in a malpractice case against an environmental consultant, based on the failure to identify a hazardous waste dumpsite in a site assessment report obtained as part of the purchaser's pre-acquisition due diligence.  Following trial, the purchaser obtained a judgment for $1.5 million in damages, plus litigation fees and costs.  The case later settled on appeal. 
  • Representation of industrial facility owners, utility companies, and design and construction professionals in various enforcement actions by state environmental authorities, involving the successful negotiation of acceptable administrative and judicial consent orders to resolve regulatory compliance issues.
  • Representation of commercial property owner in negotiations with the Attorney General’s Office to obtain a novel amendment to a neighboring property owner’s brownfields covenant-not-to-sue agreement, extending liability relief to our client based on arguments presented in comments on the neighboring property owner’s covenant application.
  • Representation of insurance companies and insureds in numerous coverage matters involving environmental claims. Our work in this area includes coverage advice and litigation over the interpretation and application of commercial general liability policies, environmental insurance policies and homeowner's policies, in the context of property damage claims arising from soil and groundwater contamination.
  • Representation of numerous plaintiffs and defendants in private party actions for Chapter 21E response costs and damages, many involving multi-party disputes and complex regional contamination problems. In many instances, we have assisted our clients in settling claims prior to litigation, either through a structured mediation process or informal negotiations.
  • Defense of a financial institution in a suit brought by more than 200 hazardous waste generators alleging that the bank, as a lender to the operator of a contaminated property, was responsible for $60 million in environmental cleanup costs.
  • Defense of the lessee of a Superfund site in action by federal and state government agencies for multimillion-dollar cleanup costs and in related claims for indemnity under lease agreement.
  • Representation of site operator of hazardous waste reclamation facility alleged to have been responsible for trans-shipment of waste to four New England sites, in action for breach of contract, indemnity and contribution under CERCLA.

For more information regarding our environmental law practice and how we can help you achieve your goals, please contact Lisa C. Goodheart (Chair), at goodheart@srbc.com or 617-227-3030.

Related Publications:

October 31, 2015 -
Massachusetts Is Making Strides Toward Environmental Justice
The recently promulgated Massachusetts Executive Order on Environmental Justice builds on the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Policy and creates new requirements aimed at the advancement of environmental justice in the Commonwealth.  SRBC Associate Phelps Turner, along with Staci Rubin, the ...
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September 16, 2014 -
To Ban or Not to Ban? The Fight over Fracking Intensifies
Regulatory frameworks for the controversial process of fracking are the subject of intense debate across the country. In an article for the ...
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Related News:

November 06, 2015 -
20 SRBC Lawyers Recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers

Twenty lawyers from SRBC have been included in this year’s edition of Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers annually publishes the results of a peer-survey and independent-research study designed to identify leading lawyers by state. In this year’s listings, SRBC ...
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November 01, 2015 -
SRBC Receives High Rankings on "Best Law Firm" List
SRBC has been named to the 2016 list of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. The firm is highly ranked in several practice areas, both nationally and regionally.

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August 21, 2015 -
Thirteen SRBC Partners Named to The Best Lawyers in America 2016 List
Thirteen partners from the Boston-based civil litigation firm Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. received top rankings in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for their skills and expertise in their respective practice areas. 

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March 10, 2015 -
Climate Change Case Urges Limits on MA Greenhouse Gas Emissions
SRBC's Dylan Sanders and Phelps Turner represent plaintiffs in an important climate change case, Kain et al. v. Mass Department of Environmental Protection. The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk County Superior Court by four high school students (SRBC’s clients), The Conservation Law ...
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February 11, 2015 -
SRBC Welcomes Chief Legal Counsel to Former Governor Patrick
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen is pleased to announce that Kate R. Cook, Chief Legal Counsel to former Governor Deval L. Patrick, has joined the firm as Of Counsel. She will focus her practice in the areas of business, employment, environmental and real estate litigation. With extensive ...
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January 12, 2015 -
Lisa Goodheart Speaks at BBA Program "Learning From City of Brockton v. Energy Facilities Siting Board"
SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart and Gene Benson will share their perspective on the SJC’s decision in City of Brockton v. EFSB, at the Boston Bar Association lunch program on January 16.

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November 04, 2014 -
SRBC Receives High Rankings on "Best Law Firm" List
SRBC has been named to the 2015 list of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. The firm received top "Tier 1" rankings in Boston across eleven practice areas:

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September 04, 2014 -
Phelps Turner Named "Boston Rising Star" by National Law Journal
Phelps Turner has been recognized by the National Law Journal (NLJ) as one of “Boston’s Rising Stars.” This elite list showcases 40 outstanding lawyers in the Boston area, under the age of 40.

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August 18, 2014 -
Fourteen Partners Earned Title "2015 Best Lawyers" and One Partner Named "Lawyer of the Year"
Fourteen SRBC partners have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015. In addition, David Barry earned special recognition as "Boston Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants. ...
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July 16, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart Elected to American College of Environmental Lawyers
Lisa Goodheart, co-chair of SRBC's Environmental Law and Real Estate Litigation practice groups, has been elected as a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL). ACOEL is a professional association of distinguished lawyers who practice in the field of environmental ...
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May 23, 2014 -
Chambers USA Ranks SRBC Partners Goodheart & Musiker

Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2014 has recognized SRBC partners Lisa Goodheart and Jean Musiker as leaders in their fields.

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May 13, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart and Phelps Turner to Receive 2014 Environmental Justice Award

SRBC's Lisa Goodheart and Phelps Turner will receive a 2014 Environmental Justice Award from the advocacy group Alternatives for Community and Environment, Inc. (ACE). The award recognizes the work of Lisa and Phelps, during the past seven years, as pro bono counsel to ACE ...
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February 27, 2014 -
Dylan Sanders: Cultivating Local, Healthy Food: Urban Agriculture Initiatives & Pro Bono Opportunities
Community residents, municipal leaders, and state agencies are working to increase access to healthy and affordable food in Massachusetts’ urban centers.  Speakers at this brown bag panel will discuss the recently approved Boston Zoning Code Article 89 permitting urban agriculture, the role of ...
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February 12, 2014 -
Dylan Sanders Discusses Urban Agriculture Initiatives & Pro Bono Opportunities

SRBC partner Dylan Sanders will join a panel of community leaders at the Boston Bar Association on February 27 to discuss cultivating local and healthy food through urban agriculture.

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February 04, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart: NEWiRE's Women of Legacy
SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart will participate in a panel discussion and networking program entitled "NEWiRE's Women of Legacy" on February 4. The panel includes NEWiRE's legacy members, Kristin Blount, Polly Bryson, ...
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January 30, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart Joins NEWiRE's Women of Legacy Event

SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart will participate in a panel discussion and networking program entitled "...
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January 24, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart Named Recipient of 2014 NEWiRE Leadership Award
SRBC congratulates Lisa Goodheart on being named the recipient of the New England Women in Real Estate (NEWiRE) 2014 Leadership Award. This prestigious award recognizes Lisa’s contributions to NEWiRE and the commercial real estate community at large over the years.  Through her collegial support of ...
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November 06, 2013 -
Dedication in the Face of Celebration – Volunteering with the Food Project
The Boston Bar Association featured SRBC's Phelps Turner in the BBA blog post "Dedication in the Face of Celebration – Volunteering with the Food Project" on ...
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November 04, 2013 -
SRBC Ranked "First Tier" in Boston in 10 Practice Areas

The 2014 edition of the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News and Best Lawyers rates SRBC a "First Tier" firm in Boston in ten of its practice areas:

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November 01, 2013 -
Lisa C. Goodheart Named President-Elect of Boston Bar Foundation

SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart, co-chair of the firm's Environmental Law and Real Estate Litigation practice groups, has been elected by the board of trustees of the Boston Bar Foundation to serve as the BBF's 2013-14 President-Elect.

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October 22, 2013 -
21 SRBC Lawyers Recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Twenty-one lawyers from SRBC have been included in this year’s edition of Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers annually publishes the results of a peer-survey and independent-research study designed to identify leading lawyers by state. In this year’s listings, SRBC ...
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August 15, 2013 -
Fifteen SRBC Partners Named “2014 Best Lawyers” and Two Ranked “Lawyer of the Year”
Fifteen SRBC partners have been ranked at the top of their profession, including two partners earning special recognition as “Lawyer of the Year,” in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal ...
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November 13, 2012 -
SRBC Ranks High in "Best Law Firms" Survey
SRBC has received first-tier rankings in nine of its practice areas in the 2013 U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey. The firm was recognized as a National Tier 1 firm in Product ...
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October 24, 2012 -
22 SRBC Attorneys Recognized as "Super Lawyers"
Twenty-two SRBC lawyers have been listed among the top attorneys in Massachusetts in the annual Super Lawyers rankings.

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September 12, 2012 -
Fifteen SRBC Lawyers Named Best Lawyers in America
Fifteen of SRBC's partners have been selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers calls itself “the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.” The publication annually ...
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June 16, 2012 -
Dylan Sanders: A Morning with the Food Project
SRBC's Dylan Sanders, a member of the executive committee of local youth-farming initiative ...
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March 07, 2012 -
Barshak and Goodheart Recognized by Chambers USA
The 2012 edition of the legal directory Chambers USA recognizes SRBC partners Edward Barshak and Lisa Goodheart as leaders in their fields. The annual publication conducts in-depth interviews with a lawyer's peers and clients, and asks for assessment of a lawyer's technical legal ability, ...
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January 05, 2012 -
Dylan Sanders Becomes SRBC Shareholder
SRBC has welcomed Dylan Sanders as a shareholder and director of the firm, effective January 1, 2012. Dylan, who joined SRBC in 2008, practices in the environmental, real estate and business litigation fields. He has particular experience representing developers in zoning, ...
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January 04, 2012 -
SRBC Welcomes New Lawyers Turner, Bográn-Acosta
SRBC recently welcomed two new lawyers to the firm. Alida Bográn-Acosta comes to SRBC as an of-counsel attorney in our employment litigation group. Alida has more than 17 years' experience advising clients in labor and employment matters. She was previously with the Boston office ...
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October 26, 2011 -
Sixteen SRBC Partners Named 2011 Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Massachusetts Super Lawyers, an annual peer-review and independent-research survey designed to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state, has named 16 SRBC partners to its 2011 listing. Several of the partners were also distinguished on shortlists of top lawyers ...
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October 21, 2011 -
Dylan Sanders Joins Sustainability Task Force
SRBC's Dylan Sanders has been appointed to the Boston Bar Association's newly minted "Environmental Sustainability Task Force," a group charged with developing pro bono volunteer opportunities that benefit the environment, and with gathering and sharing best practices for "greening" the practice of ...
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October 07, 2011 -
Doniger and Goodheart are "Lawyers of the Year"
Having earlier named 13 SRBC partners to its 2011 annual Best Lawyers in America listing, Best Lawyers has singled out two of those partners--Tony Doniger and Lisa Goodheart--for further honors. Tony is Best Lawyers' 2012 Boston Family Law Lawyer of the Year, and Lisa is 2012 ...
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September 09, 2011 -
Thirteen SRBC Lawyers Named to Best Lawyers in America
The 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, described as "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the U.S." and based on a nationwide peer survey of more than 3.9 million lawyers, has named 13 SRBC partners to its annual list. The partners, and the Best Lawyers ...
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September 01, 2011 -
Lisa Goodheart Takes Office as President of Boston Bar Association
SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart today began her term as President of the Boston Bar Association. In addition to her busy environmental, real estate and business litigation practice, Lisa has been active in the BBA for many years, having served as President-Elect, Vice President, and Treasurer, and ...
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July 14, 2011 -
Lisa Goodheart to Moderate Panel on Women in Law and Politics
On July 14, SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will moderate a panel presentation entitled "Women in Law & Politics: Progressive Policies to Promote Gender Equality." The event is co-sponsored by the Boston Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society and the Women’s Bar Association. Appearing on ...
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November 02, 2010 -
Lisa Goodheart Recognized by Women's Bar Association
The Massachusetts Women's Bar Association has recognized SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart with its Lelia J. Robinson Award, named for Boston's first woman lawyer. The award recognizes "women attorneys who have achieved professional excellence, influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors and ...
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October 20, 2010 -
SRBC Partners Named "Super Lawyers"
Sixteen of SRBC's partners have been recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the 2010 edition of the annual peer-review survey that seeks to identify the top five percent of lawyers in the state. Many of the partners were also ranked among the very top lawyers ...
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October 05, 2010 -
Dylan Sanders on Environmental and Land-Use Law
SRBC’s Dylan Sanders will be a panelist at the upcoming Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education seminar "Environmental & Land Use Case Law Update 2010." The seminar will be held on October 5th, and will cover recent appellate decisions, hot new trial court opinions, adjudicatory-hearing ...
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October 04, 2010 -
U.S. News: SRBC Among Boston's Best Law Firms in Seven Practice Areas
According to survey results newly published by U.S. News and Best Lawyers seeking to identify the "Best Law Firms" in a number of metropolitan areas, SRBC ranks in the "first tier" of Boston law firms in ...
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October 02, 2010 -
Eleven SRBC Partners Named to Annual "Best Lawyers in America" List

Eleven SRBC partners have been named to the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, an annual publication that calls itself "the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States." This year's selections are based on surveys in which more than 3.1 million leading lawyers were ...
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September 10, 2010 -
Lisa Goodheart Begins Term as BBA President-Elect
SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart on September 1 began her term as president-elect of the Boston Bar Association. Lisa has been an active member of the BBA for many years, and previously served as its vice president and treasurer, and as a member of its Council and executive, finance, ...
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September 22, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart to Appear on MCLE Panel
On Tuesday, September 22, SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will be a panelist at the seminar “Environmental & Land Use Caselaw Update 2009,” sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. Lisa will join other local attorneys discussing recent cases, developments and challenges in the area of ...
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September 01, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart Takes Office as Boston Bar Association Vice President
SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart today assumed her new role as elected vice president of the Boston Bar Association. "I am honored and pleased," Lisa says, "to have this opportunity to serve the BBA in a new capacity."

March 12, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart on Environmental Expert Witnesses
SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will be a panelist at the Boston Bar Association’s seminar “Environmental Experts: The Keys to Your Case!” on March 12. The seminar, sponsored by the BBA’s Environmental Law Section, will cover key issues and strategies in hiring and preparing an expert witness ...
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February 18, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart on Environmental Expert Witnesses
SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will be a panelist at the Boston Bar Association’s seminar “Environmental Experts: The Keys to Your Case!” on March 12. The seminar, sponsored by the BBA’s Environmental Law Section, will cover key issues and strategies in hiring and preparing an expert witness in ...
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February 09, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart to Discuss Diversity in the Judiciary
On Wednesday, February 11, SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will serve as a panelist at a program entitled “Obtaining and Retaining a Diverse Judiciary.” The program, presented by the ABA Judicial Division Standing Committee on Minorities in the Judiciary, will discuss developing strategies to increase ...
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September 04, 2008 -
Lisa Goodheart on Bank v. Thermo-Elemental
SRBC's Lisa Goodheart will speak about the Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision in Bank v. Thermo-Elemental, at a September 4 lunch meeting jointly held by the Boston Bar Association's Environmental Litigation and Hazardous & Solid Waste Committees. From the BBA ...
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