Increased Asbestos Remediation Oversight Leads to Stiff Penalties

12/6/2017

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office recently fined a developer $100,000 for illegal asbestos remediation performed at two rental properties in Worcester, Massachusetts. The developer, Hampton Properties, LLC, was fined after a subcontractor hired unlicensed workers to remove asbestos-containing pipe insulation and boiler parts. The subcontractor also allegedly stored the asbestos in an unsealed dumpster behind the apartment buildings in a residential neighborhood.

After being sued by Attorney General Maura Healey's office in Suffolk Superior Court, Hampton Properties entered into a consent judgment, agreeing to the fine and accepting responsibility for the subcontractor's illegal and potentially harmful actions. Hampton Properties was also forced to clean the two buildings and follow the proper regulations with licensed contractors under the supervision of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The developer also had to hire a consultant to perform an audit of eight other properties it owns for asbestos-containing materials.

The increased regulatory enforcement of asbestos safety laws by the Attorney General's office and other agencies reinforces the need for contractors to be fully informed about the federal and state legal requirements to ensure full compliance. Moreover, it is essential that workers follow all of the required steps and contemporaneously document their compliance so that the asbestos abatement is performed safely and properly and so that companies can provide accurate information if compliance is questioned in the future. With these steps - knowledge, compliance, and documentation - asbestos remediation work can be performed safely and any risk of legal liability can be minimized.

Governo Law Firm has represented clients in environmental and toxic tort regulatory and civil claims for three decades. We regularly lecture and publish topical articles relating to the restoration and remediation industry. In addition, we follow the scientific, medical, and legal developments in environmental and toxic tort claims, including asbestos, lead, mold, and chemical exposure. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact David Governo at dgoverno@governo.com or Vincent DePalo at vdepalo@governo.com.