Sample Client Matters

BUCHANAN & ASSOCIATES

SAMPLE CLIENT MATTERS - 1996-2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 CONTAMINATED REAL ESTATE COUNSEL: Massachusetts 21E Matters: Many Massachusetts property owners use Buchanan & Associates to oversee the process of cleaning contaminated real estate and "closing out" the cleanups in full compliance with state and federal laws while maintaining cost-efficiency. Several more use Buchanan & Associates to review prior cleanup documents to discern potential issues of concern. Buchanan & Associates will also provide legal opinions regarding the status of a known contamination site seeking redevelopment financing.

  • Brownfields Redevelopment: On behalf of a charitable foundation and, separately for a waterfront developer, Buchanan & Associates analyzed Massachusetts regulatory policy and financing proposals regarding under-utilized contaminated property ("Brownfields"). On behalf of an individual, Buchanan & Associates negotiated with a number of Commonwealth agencies to agree not to pursue our client for cleanup costs on a property he did not own if he created manufacturing jobs on the currently-defunct property. On behalf of a potential purchaser, Buchanan & Associates advised strategy for the cleanup and redevelopment of 100 acres, scheduled for subdivision into 49 single family lots.
  • A "21E" contaminated real estate site had been languishing in the regulatory system for nearly a decade as many environmental consultants failed to conclude cleanups. Buchanan & Associates successfully retained and supervised Licensed Site Professionals, who filed final site closure documents meeting all legal requirements less than one year later. A subsequent audit resulted in no further action required.
  • A suburban condominium association faced with a property access request for testing for environmental contamination retained Buchanan & Associates. As a result, the access has been negotiated to occur only to the client's advantage.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND ZONING OPINIONS

  • A waterfront Town in Massachusetts decided to redevelop their under-utilized waterfront into a state-of-the-art, full service, vessel servicing and public access boating facility. The facility was intended to service the needs of the local and regional boaters and commercial fishing fleet and to serve as a destination marina for coastal cruisers. Ms. Madeja worked closely with the Town's Board of Selectmen, Harbormaster, and other officials to guide the town from site assessment and permitting to bidding of the site for a private sector service provider to finalizing the contract with the successful bidder. The Town has commented that Ms. Madeja's cost effective and sensible approach to the project ensured that the process was a success for both the Town and the marina operator.
  • A Massachusetts marina required refinancing during a divisive family estate planning dispute while a site cleanup action was underway. Ms. Madeja researched and produced environmental and zoning opinions which allowed lender funds to flow as needed on a timely basis.
  • The fiduciary for a property owned in trust obtained an environmental report identifying contaminated groundwater beneath a site owned by the trust, just as the trust was in the midst of negotiating financing for the property. Buchanan & Associates reviewed the report, advised the fiduciary as to his obligations and those of the trust, and authored an environmental opinion about the report under Massachusetts law for use by the trust's out-of-state secured lender. The opinion included an assessment of a secured lender's status under Massachusetts law and an analysis of recent legal and regulatory developments concerning contaminated property. Funding was subsequently made available to the trust.

MARINE RECREATIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENTAL WORK

  • Chapter 91, Municipal Harbor Planning and Designated Port Area Redevelopment: A family-owned trust which owns waterfront property on Boston Harbor retained Buchanan & Associates for community and government relations and legal services to reinvigorate the site's defunct existing structures and piers. To date, Buchanan & Associates has successfully removed the Designated Port Area restriction from all land area on the property and seeded local regulator, community and state support for redevelopment. Permitting is ongoing.

A closely-held corporation which operates waterfront property uses Buchanan & Associates regarding Chapter 91 licensing concerns and state environmental permitting issues. After retaining B&A, the site was approved by the Secretary of Environmental Affairs (with full community support) for exceptional dimensional and use flexibility, permitting future development while protecting the site against eminent domain proceedings in the meantime.

A company seeking refinancing with a new lender used Buchanan & Associates to satisfy the lender's due diligence expectations. Upon receipt of B&A's environmental and zoning opinions, the loan was made and closed on schedule.

  • Marine Industrial Representation: The historic and elite legislatively chartered Boston Pilots retained Ms. Madeja to protect their unique need for land and water use on Boston Harbor in the midst of non-water dependent development. As a result, the Boston Pilots will retain use of their current waterfront space post-redevelopment at an affordable price, instead of having to relocate permanently.

ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING: Buchanan & Associates has produced numerous summaries of all required permits for a proposed development project, along with timelines for obtaining same and strategic counsel on how to present the proposed projects with regulators and with community representatives.

  • Wetlands Projects: Buchanan & Associates analyzed the environmental, engineering and legal status of a parcel of land complicated by wetlands issues. For a fixed fee, Buchanan & Associates performed legal work associated with the environmental permitting for the parcel, subcontracted the engineering assessment, and defined and delivered the appropriate work product. As a result, for a very affordable sum, the municipal client had the ability to develop what had previously been thought to be unusable land, while still protecting the associated wetlands. Buchanan & Associates is also representing a number of private property owners in obtaining or opposing final wetlands approvals.
  • MEPA matters: Buchanan & Associates represents many clients on MEPA matters. The primary focus of the work is to assure successful and speedy completion of the MEPA land use planning process, although the strategic counsel provided includes coordinating work to allow state issuance of environmental permits satisfactory to any likely appellants. For example, two projects have received exceptional approval to proceed without additional study based on the thoroughness of the initial submissions.
  • Purchasing Counsel: A California corporate client sought to purchase a Massachusetts company engaged in the packaging business. Buchanan & Associates identified and obtained the air quality permits required by the Commonwealth in an exceptionally timely fashion, and advised the client company on its subsequent state and federal regulatory responsibilities.
  • Environmental Regulatory Expert: A California corporation sought insurance coverage for reconstruction of damaged Massachusetts facilities. Ms. Madeja provided pre-trial expert support regarding odor control and air quality regulatory requirements in Massachusetts. Insurance coverage was provided.

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

  • Government Relations: Ms. Madeja is Government Relations/Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, a statewide organization devoted to recreational boating as a source of employment and recreation. MMTA estimates that the Commonwealth receives over $1.8 billion annually from recreational boating related expenditures, and that over 24,000 people in Massachusetts are employed directly in the recreational marine trades. Ms. Madeja works to secure greater public access to Commonwealth waterways and improved education and training for the marine trades, and to raise MMTA's profile in the legislative and executive branches. Two recent accomplishments have been establishment of a vibrant, active Boating Caucus in the Massachusetts legislature and dramatically increased awareness in the executive branch of the economic contributions of recreational boating. Beneficial regulatory changes are also in process.
  • Environmental Grants: A not-for-profit recycling company based in Massachusetts retained Buchanan & Associates to negotiate and assist in implementation of a legislatively earmarked grant. Buchanan & Associates successfully negotiated a satisfactory grant and implementation program for the full amount authorized.
  • Special Counsel: The First Circuit Court of Appeals engaged Ms. Madeja on a contractual basis to handle a selection of unusual matters. These contractual engagements brought Ms. Madeja into close working relationships with many federal district court judges and appellate judges within the First Circuit. No conflicts of interests were created, however, which would preclude Ms. Madeja from appearing as an expert or as counsel to private parties.

ENVIRONMENTAL Enforcement and SUPERFUND MATTERS

  • A small but longstanding boat building company faced exorbitant penalties for alleged air quality and waste management environmental violations. Ms. Madeja negotiated a dramatic change in the regulatory perspective on the matter, resulting in over 75% reduction in monetary penalties with much of the remaining funds to be dedicated to innovative product reuse equipment.
  • Buchanan & Associates has represented three small, pre-existing hydro power facilities on the Blackstone River regarding Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") matters and state and federal environmental agency concerns.
  • Stormwater permitting violations were alleged against two longstanding construction companies. Ms. Madeja negotiated with the U.S. EPA and resolved the charges pre-hearing for a 50% reduced penalty.
  • A 150-employee steel mesh manufacturing plant was invaded by many armed agents of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, ostensibly to execute a criminal search warrant alleging environmental violations. Buchanan & Associates provided environmental counsel to support the corporation's litigation counsel. For the first time in at least ten years, the government voluntarily withdrew its case post-indictment and pre-trial, without penalty or settlement. The federal district court ordered the government to pay a portion of the defendant's defense costs (overturned on appeal). A civil suit for damages is pending. The television show "60 Minutes" broadcast a segment sympathetic to the defendant.
  • Three different cranberry growers retained Buchanan & Associates to support litigation counsel in retaining the right to keep farming their properties for cranberry crops. They continue to do so. The U.S. EPA erroneously claims that decades ago, their farms were regulated wetlands and therefore should be allowed to return to their "natural state." While Ms. Madeja did secure the right to keep farming, federal civil suits are on appeal for prior wetlands claims.
  • A local enforcement action ostensibly based on dysfunctional sewage disposal systems shut down an operating business at the height of its annual cash flow season and caused issuance of a state environmental enforcement order. Buchanan & Associates worked with numerous contractors and secured state approval to reopen in three days.
  • A Massachusetts based company was included as a Potentially Responsible Party in a contaminated waste site listed on the National Priorities List ("SUPERFUND"), a list of the most serious hazardous waste sites identified for long-term cleanup. Ms. Madeja was able to secure a "DiMinimus" favorable settlement for the company that served as a cost effective solution to protect the long-term interests of the company.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ADVOCACY

  • Necessary Improvements and Maintenance: Ms. Madeja represented a large public university advocating for water quality improvements relating to the university's operations and facilities.
  • Neighborhood Advocacy for Disadvantaged Families: A significant financial settlement was reached on this issue after years of hard work. A predominantly low-income, minority neighborhood in the Boston area was inundated with millions of gallons of raw sewage mixed with stormwater for a twenty-block radius in late October, 1996, and then again in June, 1998. Buchanan & Associates, with McDermott, Will & Emery as trial counsel, represented the neighborhood to negotiate financial damages, pursue permanent solutions to the infrastructure inadequacies, and strengthen the community.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Ms. Madeja served for 10 years as a Trustee of Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, the only privately owned island in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area. Her work included supporting permanent development restrictions. In 2002, the TIOBEC board proudly approved a permanent deed restriction assuring conservation of the island in perpetuity.
  • Protecting Waterfront Resources: Ms. Madeja worked with several clients to form a coalition of neighborhood activists, boating enthusiasts, wetlands advocates and public access advocates to establish public rights on the waterfront and, on an ongoing basis, to secure an appropriate redevelopment plan for a degraded waterfront site in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
  • Progressive Planning: Ms. Madeja participated in the South Boston Design Review Committee when then-state Senator Stephen Lynch (now Congressman), City Council President James Kelly, and Senator Jack Hart requested Ms. Jamy Buchanan Madeja serve as a Chapter 91/technical expert on the South Boston waterfront development process. These services included regular meetings of South Boston's citizen leaders as well as with these elected officials.
  • Promoting Education on Climate Change: In the past several years, Ms. Madeja has worked with the Green House Network, based at the Lewis & Clark University, to organize an annual three-day conference to train participants from around the country to advocate for policies and practices to reduce global warming. The policies and practices are political and personal ones, ranging from sophisticated legislative and commercial systems to simple home behavioral changes.
  • Masterplanning Counsel: Invited pro bono counsel to Boston Society of Architects' Task Force on South Boston Seaport development plans. Ms. Madeja serves a number of non-profits with similar participation in development planning.

NEGOTIATED RESTRUCTURING OF STATE HOUSING FINANCINGS

  • Buchanan & Associates was retained by three limited partnerships which own mixed-income housing developments, each subsidized by state and federal housing programs. One partnership had been negotiating for three years with its state lender and its investors to restructure the financing on the project. After Buchanan & Associates began working with the partnership, an agreement in principle was reached within months, the funds were solicited and received from the limited partners within sixty days of the commitment letter's issuance, and the entire refinancing closed less than thirty days thereafter. The matter Ms. Madeja handled was successfully renegotiated and closed by subsequent counsel in cooperation with Ms. Madeja.

References from or communication with a contact person for each of the above client matters may be arranged upon request through Buchanan & Associates.


From offices in Boston, the law firm of Buchanan & Associates represents clients throughout Massachusetts, from Cape Cod to Cape Ann, including Gloucester and Rockport.