Ann M. Catino: Lawyer with Halloran & Sage LLP

Ann M. Catino

Partner
Hartford,  CT  U.S.A.
Phone860-297-4682

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 4.4/5.0
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Practice Areas

  • Environmental & Land Use
     
    University St. Anselm College, A.B., 1982; Syracuse University, Maxwell School, M.P.A., 1983
     
    Law SchoolUniversity of Kentucky College of Law, J.D., 1987
     
    Admitted1987, Connecticut; 1988, District of Connecticut
     
    Memberships 

    Associations

    Connecticut Bar Association -
    Environmental Law Section
    Society of Women Environmental
    Professionals
    The Real Estate Exchange
    The Connecticut Women's Council
    Environmental Policies Council, CT
    Business & Industries Association
    Environmental Professionals Organization
    of Connecticut
    Construction Institute Board of Advisors

     
    BornHartford, Connecticut, October 14, 1960
     
    Biography

    Ann Catino practices primarily in the areas of environmental, utilities, and land use law. Prior to joining the firm, she spent over eleven years in private practice representing private and public sector clients in matters involving land use and real estate development and transfer; permitting and regulatory compliance; property remediation and environmental litigation. She appears regularly before federal and state environmental and siting agencies, local regulatory boards and all courts in superfund litigation, private cost recovery claims and federal/state enforcement actions. She represents clients in environmental and utility matters and issues before the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Connecticut Siting Council and numerous local commissions and authorities. She has also represented development projects - from power plant development to retail to manufacturing to entertainment.

    Ann is currently involved in permitting a transmission line running under Long Island Sound from New Haven, Connecticut to Shoreham, New York, and a substation in New Haven. She has previously represented the developers of a 32 MW wood-to-energy facility. She was also counsel for the developers of the Meadows Music Centre, a 30,000 seat concert center built in Hartford atop an old urban landfill and former railroad property, which was the first indoor/outdoor performing arts facility in the country. Developing this site required balancing the needs of the developers with the requirements imposed by the DEP and the concern for public health and safety. The Meadows was one of the first Brownfields projects developed with the use of state funds dedicated for the cleanup of economically developable but environmentally challenged properties.

    In addition, Ann routinely represents owners and operators of manufacturing facilities, shopping centers, gas stations and commercial enterprises as well as quasi-public agencies, universities and municipalities in varying capacities involving permitting, compliance and enforcement. She advises clients as to the proper investigation and remediation of property, the Connecticut Transfer Act, air, water discharge, hazardous waste, solid waste, water diversion and underground storage tank compliance.

    In litigation-related matters, she has served as lead joint defense counsel in the Beacon Heights and Laurel Park Superfund litigation, which was tried in Federal District Court in Connecticut from January - July 1998. She also has litigated various commercial cases, environmental claims, and citizen suits arising under both federal and state environmental laws.

    Ann has been recognized by the The Best Lawyers in America in the categories of Litigation - Environmental as well as Litigation - Land Use & Zoning since 2013. In addition, Ann has been recognized by Chambers USA for three consecutive years in the Environment section, earning a Band 3 ranking in 2014.

    Publication

    A New Grade for Connecticut Brownfield Redevelopment - New Initiatives Underway
    By: Ann Catino, New England Real Estate Journal, 07/18/2014

    2014 is half completed, but with the evolving brownfield landscape nin Connecticut, the state's brownfield stewardship report card for 2014 already deserves an A rating. Several new initiatives are underway - both from the state administration and legislature. Each year, the state continues to bolster its programs and funding in order to prioritize and stimulate brownfield development in all municipalities. The first six months are setting a new standard for resurrecting these properties and turning them again into productive use.

    First, as of January 28, Tim Sullivan was appointed the new state director of brownfield, waterfront and transit-oriented development within the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. He previously served in New York City under the mayor Bloomberg administration, where he was the chief of staff to the deputy mayor for Economic Development. For the first time, Connecticut has a director focused on overseeing all the state programs focused on redeveloping the state's brownfields and spearheading the funding and liability relief programs, coordinating with municipalities, businesses, developers and the banking community. He is to captain brownfield projects and pull together the various agencies in state government so that efficient development may occur and a project may be developed successfully.

    Second, it is abundantly clear that governor Malloy is committed in word and actions to brownfield initiatives as he continues to put necessary funds on the table. While brownfield development is a real estate deal, mitigating the historic environmental conditions to transform the site often necessitates public sector support to make such sites attractive. Public sector financing stimulates the development, assists to manage the risks, and leverages traditional lending. Hearing these concerns, on May 15th, governor Malloy announced that $20 million of brownfield funding was available in the form of both grants and loans, with up to $1 million dedicated to municipal assessment grants. While the window for applications on the grants and loans closed on June 30, the municipal assessment funding is open until July 14. This funding round appears on the heels of a recent round of grants announced on April 16, where more than $3.8 million was awarded to 21 municipalities to perform pre-development investigative activities, so that the sites may be more attractive for redevelopment.

    Finally, the legislature remains a driving force and continues to prioritize (and pass unanimously) a brownfield bill each year. This year, included in Public Act 14-88, are two new initiatives that are very important to brownfield redevelopment. First, a portion or piece of property (regardless of how large or small) may be verified through an interim verification to the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). This means, for example, that a person who cleans up 50 out of 100 acres, or 3 out of 6 acres, can qualify for an interim verification. This designation means (a) the investigation has been performed according to prevailing standards and guidelines, (b) the remediation has been completed except for groundwater, (c) the groundwater remedy, its duration and ongoing operation, maintenance and monitoring continues and (d) there are no current exposure pathways that have not yet met the remediation standards. This significant change provides certainty as to the status of the portion of the property, allows a development and financing to readily move forward, and the costs for the work remaining can be more readily projected. Although an excellent step, any owner seeking an interim verification must still file an environmental land use restriction (ELUR) for that portion (assuming one is needed). To assist owners who are able to take advantage of this program today, the legislature did provide a grace period. If a portion qualifies, an application for the interim verification may be filed without recording an ELUR until December 31, 2014. But, such owner has until September 1, 2015 (or a later date as approved by the DEEP) to record the ELUR.

    The legislation also exempts building materials from the classification of whether a site is subject to the Connecticut Transfer Act. Previously, even if no hazardous waste was generated at a property, a renovation or demolition of a building could trigger the applicability of the Transfer Act to a site, necessitating a much more extensive investigation of a property. Effective now, the removal or abatement of building materials - even if generated and shipped off-site as hazardous waste - does not create a Transfer Act site. So, the first six months, deserve an A. What the next six month's report card will be remains a work in progress, but 2014 is certainly off to a record start.Who is Paying Condominium Fees and Who is Not?
    New England Real Estate Journal, 03/07/2013

    For years, condominiums have been part of the suburban and urban landscape. From a land use perspective, concentrated development makes sense. Sharing the costs of common services and maintenance makes sense. Upkeep is a sense of pride and insures the quality and value of the units. However, the very financial industry that supplied the mortgages for these units and who should have a vested interest in maintaining the value of a condominium, are not as interested and have fought the associations when it comes to paying the monthly fee and arguing that the association's priority is a one-time superlien.

    In Lake Ridge Condominium Association, Inc. v. Harry Vega, Jr., 55 Conn. L. Rptr. 164, the Connecticut Superior Court recently decided that an association's statutory right to a super lien for six months of unpaid common charges is completely extinguished upon a foreclosing mortgagee's satisfaction of the priority portion of the lien existing at the commencement of a foreclosure action. Although Lake Ridge is not the first case to analyze this issue and come to this conclusion, the state of today's housing market, characterized by high numbers of foreclosures, makes the condominium super lien a very relevant issue, and a pressing one for condominium associations across the state.

    The Lake Ridge case is based on Connecticut General Statutes section 47-258(b), which gives the association a lien on a unit for any assessment the association levied against it and associated fines. This lien may be foreclosed as a mortgage is, but it has priority over all other liens except: (a) those recorded prior to the recording of the condominium declaration; (b) liens for real estate taxes and other governmental charges and assessments; (c) first or second mortgages recorded before the assessment became delinquent. Section 47-258(b) establishes a super priority lien as against first or second security interests for those assessments that accrued during the six months immediately preceding the commencement of the mortgage foreclosure action.

    In Lake Ridge, the court dealt with a second action for unpaid common charges that had been filed by the association. Prior to that action, the bank instituted an action to foreclose on the condominium unit. Subsequently, the association initiated its first action for unpaid common charges against the unit owner naming the bank as a defendant because of its mortgage. The bank ultimately satisfied the judgment for the owner. About six months later, as the bank's mortgage foreclosure action was still pending, the association instituted a second action to foreclose its common charge lien alleging that the common charges on the property continued to go unpaid. The bank argued that they had paid and discharged the priority portion of the lien in the first action, and therefore no new lien prior in right to its mortgage arose. The court decided in favor of the bank, and concluded that the super priority created by section 47-258(b) does not apply again if a subsequent common charge delinquency occurs during the pendency of a first mortgagee's foreclosure.

    Simply put, after the mortgagee satisfies the super priority portion of the association's lien, it has no obligation to pay any further liens for common charges as long as the foreclosure action is pending and those common charges can remain unpaid without recourse by the association. Common charges cover lawn care, snow plowing, insurance, painting, repair and maintenance for all units and are necessary to maintain the property value. In the current economic climate, condominium units have not escaped foreclosure actions; but with Lake Ridge the unit owner and bank can escape paying all but the first six months of common charge delinquencies. Associations can no longer afford to bear the burden of the practical effects of these cases. Putting the burden on the owners within the association to underwrite and maintain the value of the defaulting unit and protecting the bank's collateral, without contribution from the bank or unit owner, is inequitable to the association and renders condominiums an exceptionally risky investment.

    This inequitable problem has not gone unnoticed. The Connecticut General Assembly reportedly intends to address this growing problem. Because condominiums are an integral part of the real estate market and provides for higher density development, with a variety of land use efficiencies, these communities should be protected and associations should not be penalized by the risk of a defaulting owner. Without legislative change, the lender's collateral could irretrievably suffer a loss in value to not just the lender but to the association and the entire community. The future of condominiums as a land use alternative in Connecticut could be jeopardized.Moving Forward with Brownfield Redevelopment in 2012
    New England Real Estate Journal, 10/21/2012

    From Danbury to Waterbury, Killingly to Bridgeport, Connecticut's landscape is changing. The neglected and abandoned manufacturing complexes, relics of Connecticut's manufacturing past, are undergoing a transformation. While the development is not on a grand scale, significant progress is occurring. Connecticut, recognizing the need to restore these properties and to thwart other properties from falling into a similar abyss, has embarked on a new program designed to stimulate brownfield development.

    During Spring of 2012, the Connecticut Departments of Economic and Community Development (DECD) announced round two of funding availability for the grants and loans. The purpose of the program is to provide below market rate loans to project developers and grants to municipalities. These funds can be used for environmental assessment, investigation and remedial action and to remediate contaminated sites for reuse and redevelopment. Approximately $8.7 million in loans and $7.5 million in grants were awarded for projects encompassing commercial and industrial remediation and expansion; housing; transit oriented and mixed-use developments with hotel, residential and retail space. Norwalk, New Britain, Hartford, New Haven, Shelton, Griswold, Meriden, Plainville, Stamford, Cheshire and Stratford are among the municipalities benefiting from these funds.

    In addition, the State issued a request for proposals from developers who may be interested in purchasing and redeveloping state owned brownfields in Groton, Waterbury, New Haven, Newtown and Newington. These properties have been recognized by the State as brownfields, but given each one's location and potential community benefits, such sites are ready for a fast track redevelopment. The selected properties will be remediated, pre-permitted through the state process and then sold to the successful developer. These funding programs incent such development and are long overdue. Projecting development costs for brownfields is uncertain as the contamination must be delineated before remedial alternatives and development are priced. And, brownfield sites have hidden infrastructure costs (e.g., asbestos, PCBs).

     
    Reported CasesRepresentative Matter: Large Regional Bank Represented in Loan Facilities to CT Property Manager/Developer; Halloran & Sage represented a large regional bank in the negotiation, documentation and closing of mortgage and construction loan facilities to a Connecticut property manager and developer. The Firm, led by real estate partner James Maher, environmental partner Ann Catino and attorney Casey O'Connell, assisted the lender in navigating through the resolution of environmental issues with respect to the subject property and to promptly close and fund the loan within a strict year-end timeframe.H & S Obtains Favorable Result in Environmental Matter; Ann Catino, a partner in the Environmental and Land Use Group, and Joseph Fortner, Jr., a partner in the Business and Commercial Litigation Group, of Halloran & Sage recently secured a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, disposing of virtually all claims asserted against its municipal client in an environmental class action. This decision is a substantial victory for municipalities and for clients who undertake investigation and remedial responsibilities pursuant to a Consent Order with an administrative agency. In Collins, et al. v. Olin Corp., et al., 3:03CV945 (CFD), the Town of Hamden was sued by some of its residents, who claimed that their homes had been built on locations used as dumps in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The plaintiffs sued the Town, and the successor of the company which allegedly generated and disposed of industrial waste. Their claims included certain common law and statutory claims for damages and injunctive relief, including claims for negligence, abnormally dangerous activity, recklessness, nuisance and other specific claims arising various state and federal environmental laws. The plaintiffs filed their action immediately after a Consent Order was entered by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection between the Town, the company co-defendant, and certain other parties DEP alleged to be responsible for the environmental conditions existing at a middle school, public parks and approximately 300 homes. The Consent Order allocated responsibility among the parties and provided that the Town was to investigate and remediate only the public parks; Olin was to investigate and remediate the residential neighborhood. The residents, proposing class status, requested the Court to essentially undue the allocation of responsibility set forth in the Consent Order and requested the Town to undertake investigation and remediation of the very conditions that were covered in the DEP administrative proceeding. Halloran & Sage moved to dismiss all claims ordering the Town to undertake such actions, and, while the motion to dismiss was pending, also moved for partial summary judgment precluding any assessment of damages against the town under the doctrine of governmental immunity. In his decision dated February 28, 2006, the Hon. Christopher Droney, U.S.D.J., ruled in favor of the Town on both motions. First, the court dismissed the claims for injunctive relief under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The Court readily acknowledged that the lawsuit would largely undue the allocation of responsibility set forth in the Consent Order and that the decisions required for proper remediation of the properties are more properly within the environmental agency's field of expertise and discretion. The court next granted summary disposition of the claims alleging negligence, gross negligence, negligence per se, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, on the grounds that the doctrine of governmental immunity barred those claims and any claims for damages. While the plaintiffs had been given an opportunity to search for any evidence reflecting that the Town engaged in a proprietary function in allegedly permitting the filling of waste materials in the low-lying areas, the court concluded that the historical Town records indisputably show that any filling activities or control of filling by the Town occurred to redress and control mosquito breeding places and the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. Further, the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that the Town received any proprietary benefit from the development of homes, parks and a school other than the general benefits arising from the normal growth and development of a residential community. Fees from building permits, certificates of occupancy or even an enhanced tax base were not considered by the Court to represent proprietary acts. Similarly, despite plaintiffs' best efforts to create a factual dispute about the Town's recklessness, in allowing such filling and future development, the court noted that the Town needed to control landfilling and garbage collection and disposal activities primarily to address issues of health and safety present at the time and that there was no evidence at the relevant time that this landfill material posed a health or safety threat to later developers. Thus, with the exception of a single claim under CERCLA (regarding which a motion has yet to be filed), all substantive claims against the Town have been effectively dismissed. The significance of the decision lies in (1) the court's discussion of the application of governmental immunity and whether a municipality can be sued for disposal and filling activities that happens within the municipality when any such activity allegedly permitted or conducted by the Town is for the benefit of its citizens at the time and (2) that a party to a Consent Order cannot be required to perform a clean up independent of or separate from any agreements (eg., a Consent Order) that party has with DEP.Larry Weisman and Ann Catino Obtain Favorable Decision From Westport Planning and Zoning Commission; Larry Weisman and Ann Catino recently obtained a favorable decision from the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission, which voted to approve construction of a new 102,000 square foot Westport Weston Family Y on a 32 acre parcel adjacent to the Merritt Parkway and bordered by the Saugatuck River. Eric Bernheim also assisted in this matter. This final decision followed approvals from various town bodies and the Connecticut DEP, as well as many hours of hearings and deliberations by the Planning and Zoning Commission. This was the longest application in the history the Commission.H & S Obtains Approval for an On-Site Wastewater Treatment System; Larry Weisman and Ann Catino recently obtained a favorable ruling from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for an on-site wastewater treatment system. The decision recommended approval of an application for an engineered sub-surface system with a design capacity of 34,000 gallons per day to support a proposed 102,000 square foot new YMCA facility serving the Towns of Westport and Weston, CT. A tentative determination regarding the application was originally issued in May, 2006, but upon receipt of a petition,extensive, contested public hearings were held. After considering the testimony and information offered at the hearings and evaluating the merits of the project, the DEP hearing officer concluded that the discharge that would result if the installation were to receive a permit would adequately protect the waters of the state. A complete copy of the ruling can be accessed here. Uniroyal Chemical Company v. Town of Middlebury, 2006 WL 962210 (2d Cir. 2006); In a major Superfund clean-up case, the court upheld the allocation of interest on clean-up costs on a pro-rate basis, consistent with the allocation of the underlying costs.H & S Obtains a Summary Disposition of Claims Against Municipal Client; Ann Catino, a partner in the Environmental and Land Use Group, and Joseph Fortner, Jr., a partner in the Business and Commercial Litigation Group, of Halloran & Sage recently secured a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, disposing of virtually all claims asserted against its municipal client in an environmental class action. This decision is a substantial victory for municipalities and for clients who undertake investigation and remedial responsibilities pursuant to a Consent Order with an administrative agency. In Collins, et al. v. Olin Corp., et al., 3:03CV945 (CFD), the Town of Hamden was sued by some of its residents, who claimed that their homes had been built on locations used as dumps in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The plaintiffs sued the Town, and the successor of the company which allegedly generated and disposed of industrial waste. Their claims included certain common law and statutory claims for damages and injunctive relief, including claims for negligence, abnormally dangerous activity, recklessness, nuisance and other specific claims arising various state and federal environmental laws. The plaintiffs filed their action immediately after a Consent Order was entered by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection between the Town, the company co-defendant, and certain other parties DEP alleged to be responsible for the environmental conditions existing at a middle school, public parks and approximately 300 homes. The Consent Order allocated responsibility among the parties and provided that the Town was to investigate and remediate only the public parks; Olin was to investigate and remediate the residential neighborhood. The residents, proposing class status, requested the Court to essentially undue the allocation of responsibility set forth in the Consent Order and requested the Town to undertake investigation and remediation of the very conditions that were covered in the DEP administrative proceeding. Halloran & Sage moved to dismiss all claims ordering the Town to undertake such actions, and, while the motion to dismiss was pending, also moved for partial summary judgment precluding any assessment of damages against the town under the doctrine of governmental immunity. In his decision dated February 28, 2006, the Hon. Christopher Droney, U.S.D.J., ruled in favor of the Town on both motions. First, the court dismissed the claims for injunctive relief under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The Court readily acknowledged that the lawsuit would largely undue the allocation of responsibility set forth in the Consent Order and that the decisions required for proper remediation of the properties are more properly within the environmental agency's field of expertise and discretion. The court next granted summary disposition of the claims alleging negligence, gross negligence, negligence per se, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, on the grounds that the doctrine of governmental immunity barred those claims and any claims for damages. While the plaintiffs had been given an opportunity to search for any evidence reflecting that the Town engaged in a proprietary function in allegedly permitting the filling of waste materials in the low-lying areas, the court concluded that the historical Town records indisputably show that any filling activities or control of filling by the Town occurred to redress and control mosquito breeding places and the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. Further, the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that the Town received any proprietary benefit from the development of homes, parks and a school other than the general benefits arising from the normal growth and development of a residential community. Fees from building permits, certificates of occupancy or even an enhanced tax base were not considered by the Court to represent proprietary acts. Similarly, despite plaintiffs' best efforts to create a factual dispute about the Town's recklessness, in allowing such filling and future development, the court noted that the Town needed to control landfilling and garbage collection and disposal activities primarily to address issues of health and safety present at the time and that there was no evidence at the relevant time that this landfill material posed a health or safety threat to later developers. Thus, with the exception of a single claim under CERCLA (regarding which a motion has yet to be filed), all substantive claims against the Town have been effectively dismissed. The significance of the decision lies in (1) the court's discussion of the application of governmental immunity and whether a municipality can be sued for disposal and filling activities that happens within the municipality when any such activity allegedly permitted or conducted by the Town is for the benefit of its citizens at the time and (2) that a party to a Consent Order cannot be required to perform a clean up independent of or separate from any agreements (eg., a Consent Order) that party has with DEP.Counsel for Construction of a Transmission Cable; Halloran & Sage secured the permitting for the construction of a 300 MW HVDC transmission cable running under Long Island Sound from New Haven to Shoreham, New York. This project included obtaining approvals from the Connecticut Siting Council, the DEP, Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries and negotiating settlement agreements with certain affected interests including the Soundkeeper and the Department of Agriculture. In addition, the development of this project, and its associated substation, AC interconnect and tower has involved attorneys from all areas of our Firm: energy, environmental and land use, real estate, finance, and our appellate group. Our attorneys prepared the necessary documents for acquiring the fee and easements to the real estate, securing advanced financing, and obtaining the approvals from the Department of Public Utility Control.Counsel for Superfund Litigation; Halloran & Sage attorneys served as lead joint defense counsel for the general waste stream defendants and co-defense counsel for the municipal defendants in the private cost recovery trial of the two most notorious Superfund sites in the state, the Beacon Heights and Laurel Park landfills. During the course of the trial and in further proceedings before the Federal District Court, we became lead counsel for all 20+ municipalities involved in this litigation. The trial, which spanned six months, involved presenting novel cost-allocation models for the apportionment of the clean-up costs among all parties. Our representation included numerous appeals to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and relitigating certain unique issues upon remand, such as the calculation of pre-judgment and post-judgment interest under CERCLA and the effect of deposits made to the federal court registry on the calculation of interest. Our involvement in this case gave us unparalleled experience in municipal commercial and industrial liability issues arising under federal and state law relating to municipal solid waste, landfill operation and closure and Superfund liability.Counsel for the Development of a Major Entertainment Venue; The development of the Meadows Music Theatre involved transforming an old urban landfill into a state of the art 30,000 person outdoor concert facility. Working with DEP and the state, urban site Brownfield funding was obtained and the site remediated primarily through the installation of a complex cap and redeveloped into one of the premier concert facilities in the state. State permits were obtained and local approvals from the City of Hartford and Hartford Redevelopment Authority were received in order to develop this one-of-a-kind facility. This was the first project of its scale to be permitted through the state's urban site remediation program and is a proud accomplishment not only for the developers but for the state.
     
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    Office Information

    Ann M. Catino

    225 Asylum Street
    HartfordCT 06103




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