Environmental Law

Effective Advocacy for Individuals

Bouchard Barge B120 Oil Spill, Buzzards Bay, MA

On April 27, 2003, the Bouchard Barge B120 ran aground on a well-marked reef in Buzzards Bay, spilling as much as 98,000 gallons of fuel oil into the tidal waters off southeastern Massachusetts.  Over the next two weeks, shoreline homeowners found the oil washing ashore.  Throughout the summer that followed, hundreds of privately contracted cleanup workers, many with backhoes and dump trucks, fanned out along the affected beaches to remove the oiled sand and rocks.  The spill and ensuing cleanup activities disrupted hundreds of homeowners’ use and enjoyment of their beach properties throughout the summer and, in some cases, for several years after.

A group of the homeowners decided to vindicate their right to be compensated  for damage done to their properties.  They retained Martin Levin to investigate and then pursue their potential claims.  Over vigorous opposition from Bouchard, Mr. Levin won the first certification of an environmental class action in Massachusetts, successfully tried the court-ordered “test case” before a Plymouth County jury, and ultimately won a $12.4 million settlement on behalf of more than a thousand homeowners.   Over 99% of the class members made claims, receiving compensation that ranged from an average of over $500 to an average of over $15,000, depending on the circumstances of their property damage.

In 2012, the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named Martin Levin one of its Lawyers of the Year for his work on behalf of the homeowners. Read Article.

Buzzards Bay, MA