Posts tagged "1017213"

Franklin Office Park Realty Corp. v. Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-172-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030;     SJC‑11334   FRANKLIN OFFICE PARK REALTY CORP.  vs.  COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.     Worcester.     May 9, 2013.  ‑  September 16, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Department of Environmental Protection.  Administrative Law, Agency’s interpretation of statute, Regulations, Judicial review.  Practice, Civil, Review of administrative action.  Environment, Air pollution.  Asbestos.  Statute, Construction.  Regulation.  Words, “Wilful.”       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March 22, 2011.   The case was heard by John S. McCann, J., on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Louis M. Dundin, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. Paul E. White for the plaintiff.       DUFFLY, J.  The plaintiff, Franklin Office Park Realty Corp. (Franklin), challenges the assessment of a penalty in the amount of $ 18,225, imposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for improper handling and disposal of roof shingles that contained asbestos.  Franklin argues that, pursuant to G. L. c. 21A, § 16 (administrative penalties act), it was entitled to a notice of noncompliance and the opportunity to cure any violations before a penalty was imposed.  The commissioner of the DEP (commissioner) accepted the recommendation of a hearing officer that he affirm the penalty on the ground that Franklin’s failure to comply fell within one of six exceptions to the notice requirement because it was “willful and not the result of error” (wilfulness exception), see G. L. c. 21A, § 16, which he interpreted as requiring only a showing of “the intent to do an act that violates the law if done.”  Franklin sought judicial review pursuant to G. L. c. 30A, § 14; a judge of the Superior Court determined some of the facts found by the hearing officer to be unsupported by substantial evidence, and that the DEP’s interpretation of G. L. c. 21A, § 16, was unreasonable and thus not entitled to deference.  DEP appealed, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion. We conclude that the language “willful and not the result of error” in G. L. c. 21A, § 16, when considered in the context of the statutory scheme and the Legislature’s intent, clearly requires a showing that the party who has not complied with the law knew or should […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,