Client Success

Former Cabinet Officials and Agency Heads File Amicus Brief on Waterfront Development

March 7, 2022

 Sherin and Lodgen Joins Other Amici in Katherine Armstrong & Others, Appellees v. Kathleen Theoharides & Others, Appellants

On February 14, 2022, Sherin and Lodgen LLP filed an Amicus Brief with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in a case involving the legal superstructure supporting waterfront development in the Commonwealth, and the interplay between Chapter 91 Tidelands regulations and Municipal Harbor Plans (MHP). At issue is whether Municipal Harbor Plans, which are approved by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), inappropriately curtail Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) discretion when issuing a license under Chapter 91. A multidisciplinary legal team at Sherin was involved in the Brief, including partners Ronald W. Ruth and Matthew C. Moschella, and associates Marcella Alvarez Morgan and Tanya M. Larrabee. The brief can be viewed here.

The Amicus Brief was filed on behalf of a group of signatories that include four former Secretaries of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and five Former Commissioners of the DEP, or its predecessor, the Department of Environmental Quality Engineering. The case originated from the approval of the Boston Downtown Waterfront MHP, which facilitates the development of the proposed 600-foot tower near the New England Aquarium and the redevelopment of the Hook Lobster site. The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and certain residents of the nearby Harbor Towers challenged the MHP process in the Superior Court and won, with the Court finding that the MHP process excessively ties the DEP hands. The SJC has the case on direct appellate review and invited Amicus Briefs.

Other parties have also filed Amicus Briefs, including Attorney General Maura Healey, Massachusetts Municipal Law Association, New England Aquarium, NAIOP Massachusetts, and RHDC 70 East India Row. Oral arguments were presented on March 7, 2022.