Christopher Foster

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Chris Foster heads the firm's Environmental Group in the Boston office. He advises clients on environmental risk management and strategy in financings, corporate transactions, Brownfields development, environmental remediation-related cost recovery, mediation, and litigation, always with an eye toward his client’s strategic interests and a cost effective and successful outcome.

    Transactions

    Mr. Foster provides legal advice to purchasers, sellers, investors, and financial institutions with respect to environmental matters. This includes a range of services, including conducting due diligence and risk evaluations. He negotiates and drafts letters of intent, representations, warranties, and indemnification and other key aspects of leases. He also handles financing documentation, and purchase and sale agreements. Mr. Foster regularly negotiates environmental risk transfer agreements and specialty environmental insurance policies, and he secures public funding when available. Mr. Foster works with clients to secure environmental land use restrictions where appropriate to manage risk. He provides strategic post-closing advice with respect to environmental risk management, cost allocation, and permitting.

    Risk Management/Compliance

    Mr. Foster’s practice includes risk management and compliance counseling. He regularly serves as outside counsel, helping clients to develop, improve and implement compliance auditing and Environmental/Health/Safety (EHS) Management Systems. He regularly provides risk management counsel, and helps clients triage, prioritize, sequence and undertake corrective measures, including voluntary disclosures.

    Remediation & Brownfields Redevelopment

    Mr. Foster provides strategic advice to help guide clients through the complex rules, regulations, and policies related to contaminated site investigation and remediation. He helps clients make cost effective, long term decisions to minimize risk and protect human health and the environment. His experience, coupled with his in-depth understanding of legal and regulatory requirements, allows him to strategically and cost effectively counsel clients with respect to sensitive, complex, multi-party remedial projects.

    Environmental Litigation and Dispute Resolution

    Mr. Foster assists clients with a variety of environmental disputes, including claims over property damages, clean-up costs, and other injuries. Mr. Foster has successfully used mediation to cost effectively resolve intractable lawsuits. He has successfully prosecuted and defended lawsuits, achieving recovery of environmental response costs for clients from other responsible parties and extricating clients from third party and governmental liability claims. 

    Mr. Foster provides strategic advice with respect to third party, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and state agency enforcement actions, such as notices of violation and non-compliance. When appropriate, he assists in negotiating settlements with government agencies, achieving significant penalty reductions and drafting cost effective administrative consent orders. He has negotiated a consent order to resolve the compliance and environmental remediation obligations of a client without a penalty.
     

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Represented transportation company in defense of an environmental class action trial in Massachusetts state court, one of the very few class action trials resulting from an environmental incident and, to our knowledge, the first environmental class action ever tried in Massachusetts. The case involved claims for property damage resulting from an oil spill in Buzzards Bay. The class was made up of approximately 1,000 residents from the Town of Mattapoisett who alleged their shoreline property was oiled as a result of the spill. The March 2010 trial, which lasted two weeks, addressed the claims of eight individual class members. The jury ultimately awarded a very favorable result for the client. The results of these initial cases were meant to provide the parties with a basis to resolve the remaining claims.

      • Provides strategic advice to owner of industrial property with respect to legacy environmental clean-up, negotiations with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with respect to clean up standards and closure, documented through an Administrative Consent Order, secured Pollution Legal Liability environmental insurance and recovery under same, secured Covenant Not To Sue to manage prospective risk to owner and prospective purchasers. 

      • Currently providing advice to purchasers, sellers, financiers/lenders and investors conducting environmental due diligence, including evaluating and providing strategic advice and counsel with respect to environmental risk identified in Phase I, Phase II and other environmental information. Manages due diligence and environmental consultants through the due diligence process to confirm accurate cost effective information and successful allocation of responsibility for environmental risk.

      • Represents chemical company with respect to cost recovery under Massachusetts cost recovery statute M.G.L. 21E §4A successfully securing past costs from predecessor company. Continued representation of company regarding cost recovery in the United States and Canada.

      • Successfully mediated disputes regarding allocation of clean-up, access to site, and settlement of litigation over clean-up of a metals, petroleum and chlorinated solvent impacted property.

      • Negotiated resolution of EPA and Coast Guard Government Initiated Unannounced Exercise and resulting claims brought pursuant to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) and Facility Response Plan (FRP) requirements of the Clean Water Act.

      • Counsel HUD financed minority housing developer with respect to environmental due diligence requirements of lenders, HUD, and other city, state and federal housing agencies. Provide strategic advice to quickly and efficiently resolve Phase I or Phase II findings to permit redevelopment to proceed without delay. Secure required MEPA, historic, and other approvals, and provide opinions required to secure financing.

      • Successfully counseled lender through difficult mid-development finding of significant PCB contamination threatening $100 million mill redevelopment project. Counseled lender client with respect to remediation proposals of borrower, EPA approvals required, and viability of borrower’s insurance claims. Assisted with negotiations with co-lenders to insure successful project completion. 

      • Successfully defended client with respect to abutter nuisance claims associated with bus fleet and heating oil delivery and storage.

      • Successfully secured approval of waste water treatment facility for 700-unit condominium complex, saving client several million dollars in added treatment costs.

      • Counseled client regarding successful resolution of failure to report under the Clean Air Act. Provided strategic advice with respect to resolution of General Duty Clause enforcement under the Clean Air Act and Occupational Safety Health Act Process Safety Management requirements. 

      • Counseled gun manufacturer with respect to the closure of a large manufacturing mill with legacy asbestos, oil, and chlorinated solvent contamination, securing prior owner funding for environmental clean-up and transitioning site through City agency for Brownfields funding and ultimate development.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Boston Bar Association (1993 - present)

      Massachusetts Bar Association (1993 - present)

      Connecticut Bar Association (1987 - present)

      Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association
      Associate Member (1993 - present)

      New England Fuel Institute
      Associate Member (1993 - present)

      Massachusetts Chemical Technology Alliance
      Counsel to the Board (1995 - present)
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "OH S#&%! Is My Company and Customer's Data Secure?" moderator at the 2016 New England Fuel Institute's VISIONS conference in Worcester, Massachusetts (6/15/2016)
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      "Environmental Risk in the Real World," co-presented with Karla L. Chaffee, participated in a panel discussion on behalf of the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) in Boston, Massachusetts (1/15/2015)
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      "Staying in Compliance with Today's OSHA Dust Regulations," at Massachusetts Chemistry and Technology Alliance Dust Workshop, co-presented with Kirstin Etela (12/2008)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • June 23, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present on Data Security to the New England Fuel Institute

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      • February 4, 2015

        Boston Lawyers Present on Environmental Risk

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      • December 9, 2014

        Environmental and Utilities Lawyers Plan HRSC Presentation

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      • April 7, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Present Webinar to Fuel Industry

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