Martin E. Levin
Recognized as both a “SuperLawyer” and “Lawyer of the Year” for his work as an environmental lawyer, Martin E. Levin has more than thirty years of government and private practice experience handling environmental and other complex legal matters. His work has included trial, appellate, and administrative proceedings at the local, state and federal levels, including argument before the United States Supreme Court.
While serving as Massachusetts’ chief environmental prosecutor for the decade of the 1990s, he led the investigation and prosecution of companies for environmental practices that put health and safety at risk. He developed and implemented the state attorney general’s work environment safety initiative, with successful outcomes that included
- Creation of the Work Environment Justice Fund, funded through a settlement negotiated by Mr. Levin and administered by the University of Massachusetts to support projects that prevent occupational disease and injury and provide advocacy services for workers with health and safety problems.
- Landmark assault and battery convictions for companies’ exposure of their employees to hazardous materials.
- A record criminal disposition that included over $1M paid to a state fund dedicated to controlling hazardous material releases, and the state’s first order mandating publicly reviewed audits of the corporate defendant’s occupational safety and environmental compliance practices. Following the investigation led by Mr. Levin, the company admitted to hazardous waste treatment practices that caused an explosion, injuring both employees and firefighters who responded to the scene.
Mr. Levin also prosecuted the precedent-setting civil action against General Electric for failure to notify environmental authorities of PCB contamination caused by company wastes used as residential fill.
In addition, Mr. Levin drafted the Massachusetts public employee whistleblower protection law, and environmental endangerment law.
In private practice, Mr. Levin has continued to provide creative advocacy and thoughtful counsel to businesses, individuals, and public interest advocacy groups. Mr. Levin brought the first successful environmental class action in Massachusetts, winning class certification for a thousand homeowners whose properties were contaminated by an oil spill off the Massachusetts coast. He shepherded the case through extensive discovery and motions practice over a period of five years. After Mr. Levin won jury verdicts for his clients at trial, the defendants agreed to a $12.4 million settlement to compensate the homeowners.
Other notable environmental cases have included
- A federal citizen suit for Clean Water Act violations, resolved through a consent order that helped extend conservation protection to almost 100 acres of forestland in the Hoosic River watershed.
- Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act challenges, brought on behalf of town residents, seeking to stop or modify the state-proposed herbicidal treatment of a waterbody abutting the town’s drinking water wells; the matter was resolved through settlement permitting the alternative use of non-chemical weed control methods.
- An appeal on behalf of a company that had suffered an adverse judgment denying compensation for contamination at an industrial site; Mr. Levin won reversal of the judgment and, subsequently, a multimillion dollar settlement for the company.
In addition to his environmental practice, Mr. Levin has handled a variety of complex civil and criminal matters, such as
- Representing both insureds and insurers in insurance coverage disputes, including winning a multimillion dollar settlement for coverage and unfair business practice claims in a case arising from fire at an industrial site.
- Representing companies and individuals in response to government investigations, including the company charged by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with criminal manslaughter for the death caused when the “Big Dig” ceiling collapsed.
- Representing individuals in employment actions to recover unpaid wages.
Mr. Levin serves on the Board of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (“OSGATA”), is a Senior Fellow with the Council for Responsible Genetics (“CRG”), and is Co-Chair of the Lawyers Committee of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (“MassCOSH”). He has published in a number of professional journals, has taught at Harvard Law School, and has lectured before a variety of business, labor, professional, and academic audiences. He graduated cum laude from Yale College, where he was President of the Yale Debating Association. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School.
Citizen Action to Recover Damages for Contamination of Private Property, Environmental & Land Use Law 2012, pp. 543 – 720 (MCLE, Inc. 2011)
DEHP Exposure Questions Lead to Calls for Caution (with Sanford Lewis), Journal of Healthcare Risk Management, Vol. 23, Issue 3, pp. 11-13 (Summer 2003)
Prosecution of Environmental Crimes in Massachusetts, Environmental Law Conference 2000, pp. 325 – 341 (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., April 2000)
Environmental Law Enforcement and Deregulation, New England Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 633 – 637 (Spring, 1999)
Assault and Battery Charges for Workplace Health & Safety Violations – “Why Not?” (with Gregory Vasil), Boston Bar Journal, Vol. 42, No. 5 (November/December 1998)
The Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, The Best of MCLE, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 47-51 (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., May 1994)
Selected Reported Cases
Arthrex, Inc. v. Parcus Med., LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83615 (M.D. Fla. 2014)
O’Brien v. Lifestyle Transp., Inc., 956 F.Supp. 2d 300 (D.Mass. 2013)
American Fiber & Finishing, Inc. v. Tyco Healthcare Group, LP, 362 F.3d 136 (1st Cir. 2004)
Commonwealth v. Krisco Corp., 421 Mass. 37 (1995)
Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Crown Cork & Seal, Co., 905 F.2d 42 (3rd Cir. 1990)
Barber v. Ponte, 772 F.2d 982 (1st Cir. 1985) (en banc)
Ponte v. Real, 471 U.S. 491 (1985)
Commonwealth v. Benson, 389 Mass. 473 (1983)