Law Offices of Martha A. Dean

Law Offices of Martha A. Dean ... because your rights and your freedom matter.

       ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: Our firm represents commercial establishments, land owners, outdoor shooting ranges and select individuals with environmental compliance, enforcement defense, dispute resolution, cost recovery, remediation, and legislative/policy objectives. We are committed to providing the highest quality legal services in an efficient, creative and cost-effective manner.  We serve as compliance/enforcement defense counsel to corporations on the full range of environmental and hazardous chemical/worker safety issues. We frequently work collaboratively with teams of legal and technical experts to assess and develop strategies for resolving clients' legal issues in the context of complex business transactions and liability disputes. 

     SHOOTING RANGE DEFENSE: We have achieved unparalleled success defending outdoor shooting ranges in litigation around the country. We also provide environmental, safety, and noise-related strategic advice and legal guidance to shooting ranges. 

     CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: We challenge inappropriate government action under the federal and state constitutions, appealing adverse decisions where appropriate. Past cases have involved the state's balanced budget amendment, free speech/campaign finance issues, arbitration clauses in adhesion contracts and the rights of consumers to a jury trial. Currently, we serve as local counsel to a national team representing organizations and individuals who are challenging Connecticut's post-Newtown firearms law under the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

       Whether on the public policy or the practical side of the law, we have distinguished ourselves by identifying cost-effective, creative, fast-track approaches that bring finality to difficult situations.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Typical clients include: major and mid-sized corporations with releases, contaminated sites, and historic clean-up and liability issues involving underground tanks, Superfund, sale and acquisition of impaired sites, and enforcement defense; small and mid-sized commercial property owners dealing with purchases and sales of properties with historic contamination issues; mid-sized gasoline retailers and service stations with underground tank compliance, purchase and sale, remediation, and enforcement defense needs; fuel oil delivery companies with customer spillage and release disputes; dry cleaners with leasing, remediation, and Transfer Act objectives; homeowners with properties impacted by gasoline or fuel oil releases; homeowners with pesticide treatment issues; and shooting ranges seeking general environmental strategic advice or a vigorous defense in litigation.

 

Examples of some of the types of matters we have handled include:

Litigation: obtained favorable, precedent-setting, rulings in federal and state court on behalf of outdoor shooting ranges; obtained favorable decision on behalf of gasoline station operator in enforcement action brought by Attorney General’s Office and DEP in compliance-related litigation; obtained favorable outcome and compensation in litigation under Connecticut Transfer Act on behalf of property owners in claim against prior property owner and legal counsel; obtained favorable settlement on behalf of a group of citizens leading to changes in environmental practices and remediation at outdoor shooting range under the citizen suit provisions of the federal Clean Water Act and RCRA; represented homeowner whose property was severely contaminated by petroleum during an improper pesticides application, working closely with the Attorney General’s Office and DEP in litigation against a national pesticide manufacturer; obtained favorable settlements in litigation on behalf of homeowners against home heating oil delivery companies in connection with petroleum releases at residences; obtained favorable settlement against a major petroleum company on behalf of homeowners whose property was impaired by gasoline vapors; as part of a multi-disciplinary team, obtained favorable settlement of environmental claims through environmental/bankruptcy litigation on behalf of recipient of gift of contaminated property (settlement included issuance of stock in the reorganized bankrupt corporation and favorable agreement with State).

 

Administrative Proceedings: obtained favorable decisions from the Connecticut Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Clean-Up Fund Review Board on basis of new legal interpretations on behalf of petroleum distributors and owners of gasoline service stations; as part of a multi-disciplinary team, worked to obtain siting approvals for cellular towers; briefed appellate issues in connection with the successful opposition of the construction and operation of wood burning/electric-generating facility.  Administrative appeals - experience on a variety of environmental issues including: eligibility of costs submitted to the Connecticut Underground Petroleum Clean-Up Account, constitutional issues under RCRA, CT DEP authority to impose certain conditions under water permit, propriety of administrative decision authorizing construction of a wood burning/electric-generating facility, and the revocation of a major pesticides company's pesticides license.

 

Contaminated Sites & Cost Recovery: developed legal strategies for handling comprehensive approach to sudden releases and also to sites with historic contamination (including: handling relations with press; working with local and state health officials and citizen groups; contracting with consultants and experts concerning the investigation and remediation of sites contaminated by gasoline, fuel oil, and solvents; overseeing day-to-day hydrological/hydrogeological developments and ongoing development of legal strategy); successfully defended property owners against State in recovery action for remediation costs associated with waterway contaminated by fuel oil; litigated cost recovery actions for cleanup costs under CERCLA, RCRA, and the Clean Water Act on behalf of owners of contaminated industrial and residential properties.

 

Enforcement: defended corporations charged by US EPA, US OSHA and state agencies with alleged violations of environmental and/or worker safety laws (including defense of hazardous waste clean-up contractor (hazardous waste); owner of demolished apartment buildings (asbestos); printing companies (water/hazardous waste); and warehousing facilities (storm water)); obtained significantly reduced penalties, approval of Supplemental Environmental Projects in lieu of penalties, and favorable response time frames and other terms in Consent Orders.

 

Legislative: author and proponent of 1995 Senate Bill 1139, which would have created a new mechanism for resolving disputes among parties potentially liable for clean-up of contaminated sites (SB 1139 would have created a fast-track, incentive-based, private system for resolving disputes among potentially liable parties and allows the privatization of certain cleanups); drafted 1994 bill affording protection to certain “innocent landowners;” worked with legislature to protect homeowners from lead abatement costs where painting contractor engaged in repeated criminal violations of environmental laws; worked with Program Review Committee to make changes to Connecticut Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Clean-Up Account that lead to improvements in administrative efficiency and fairness.

 

Outdoor Shooting Ranges: obtained precedent-setting rulings in favor of outdoor shooting range in federal and state court in actions based on citizen suit provisions and nuisance law; obtained favorable settlement leading to changes in environmental practices and remediation at outdoor shooting range on behalf of a group of citizens under the citizen suit provisions of the federal Clean Water Act and RCRA; worked with nationally-recognized safety experts to develop and implement safety strategies leading to successful negotiation with state and local authorities of continued operation of outdoor shooting ranges; demonstrated compliance with local wetlands and zoning laws to local authority; provided legal support for development of environmental stewardship plans complying with EPA Best Management Practices; developed legal strategy to allow implementation of novel best management practices approach to lead removal from soils.

 

Superfund: represented potentially responsible parties on allocation issues at Superfund sites in Massachusetts and Connecticut; negotiated settlement of claims against PRP at Missouri site; successfully obtained the withdrawal of all Superfund claims against a trucking company at outset of litigation.

 

Transactional: provided environmental opinion to consortium of participating lenders in $37 million transaction; provided environmental and transactional advice in context of acquisition of large number of sites; represented various types of entities engaged in transactions, including: purchaser of aerospace company; major lender in connection with review and preparation of numerous environmental opinions; bidder in proposed acquisition of international manufacturing company; bonding authority in assessment of borrowers’ environmental exposures; medical facility in connection with acquisition and development of site proposed for new facility; manufacturer in connection with structuring of proposed spin-off of division located on contaminated site; lender in connection with loan to international manufacturing operation; commercial entity seeking financing for development of environmentally-impaired property; lenders foreclosing in urban properties with lead liability exposures; purchaser of environmentally impaired property where c lean-up costs exceeded value of property.

 

Underground Storage Tanks: We have represented fuel oil and gasoline distributors and gasoline service station owners on tank compliance, enforcement, remediation, and UST Trust Fund recovery issues; obtained highly favorable results for applicants before UST Trust Fund Review Board (e.g. developed and obtained Board approval of more efficient pre-approval process for payment of anticipated future remediation costs; obtained Board decision authorizing reimbursement of legal fees/miscellaneous costs for Third Parties; obtained favorable interpretation of what constitutes “suspicion of a release,” allowing many gasoline station owners to move directly into a Phase II Site Assessment without incurring the cost of a Phase I). We have been successful in obtaining reimbursement of many millions of dollars of clean-up costs for applicants to the State of Connecticut's Underground Petroleum Clean-Up Program over the years.

 

Worker Safety: on the basis of new legal theories, obtained complete dismissal of OSHA enforcement case involving hazardous chemicals; general compliance advice on OSHA’s hazardous chemical standards (including: Hazard Communication; Emergency Response; Chemical Process Safety; lead; asbestos).

 

We also represent individuals in select environmental matters including:

Citizen Suit: represented homeowners with claims under the federal Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act against skeet shooting club that has deposited hundreds of tons of lead shot in and near wetlands and drinking water supplies.

 

Landfill: achieved favorable and expeditious settlement of claims of homeowners against town in connection with contamination from c lose d land fill.

 

Pesticides: represented homeowners with significant pesticide and petroleum exposure due to improper application/injection of termiticide at residence in litigation in U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, and in a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Toxic tort / property damage: obtained favorable settlement of homeowners ’ claims involving property devaluation, inhalation of gasoline vapors and/or ingestion of gasoline and contaminated groundwater against Sun Oil Co., Cumberland Farms, Shell Oil and others.