Practice Areas: Land Use Permitting and Related Litigation, General Practice Civil Litigation
Attorney George X. Pucci has over 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer and appellate advocate, representing clients in all Massachusetts state and federal courts, and administrative agencies.
Attorney Pucci also advises clients on a wide range of regulatory compliance and enforcement issues, strategy concerning pending or threatened litigation, and in resolving disputes prior to or during litigation, through negotiation, mediation or arbitration. He also represents clients at the land use permitting stage, including hearings on G.L. c.40B comprehensive permit applications, and matters pending before historic district commissions, conservation commissions, planning boards, and zoning boards of appeal. Land use permitting boards and their professional staff rely on Attorney Pucci to assist in properly conditioning development and construction proposals, to deny project proposals in appropriate circumstances, and to successfully defend permit decisions in the event of appeal.
- Regis College v. Weston, 462 Mass. 280 (2012). Successfully represented the Town of Weston and Weston Zoning Board of Appeals in a landmark decision interpreting the educational use exemption from zoning contained in the Dover Amendment of G.L. c. 40A, §3. On direct appellate review of a successful summary judgment ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) affirmed the Town’s position that in order to qualify as a protected educational use under the Dover Amendment, the project proponent had to prove that a bona fide educationally significant goal was the “primary or dominant purpose” of the proposed 362-unit luxury senior living facility at issue. Following the SJC ruling, the project proponent voluntarily abandoned the project at issue and pursued alternate educationally related campus enhancements with the Town’s cooperation and support.
- Heneghan v. Nantucket Conservation Commission, Nantucket Superior Court (Fahey, J., 2015). Successful bench trial defeating the plaintiff’s regulatory taking claim seeking damages in the amount of $543,827.58 based upon the defendant Conservation Commission’s denial of a permit allowing reconstruction of a summer residence on an ocean front lot situated in the vicinity of an eroding shoreline. Established that even though the Commission’s decision rendered the lot unbuildable, it did not violate the plaintiff’s reasonable investment-backed expectations, nor did it deprive the lot of all economic value, as it retained residual value for traditional beach-related recreational purposes or for possible sale to an upland abutting property owner to add a buffer zone to the coastal beach.
- Squam Partners v. Nantucket Conservation Commission, 91 Mass.App.Ct. 1118 (2017) (Rescript). Successfully defended Conservation Commission’s denial of elevated walkway over bordering vegetated wetlands based on potential adverse impact on wildlife habitat, despite de minimis impact to the wetland itself.
- Woods v. Massachusetts Dept. of Env’l Protection and Wellfleet Conservation Com’n, 2011 WL 7788022 Barnstable Superior Court (Nickerson, J.). Obtained dismissal of claims asserted against local conservation commission on grounds that its alleged failure to enforce wetland permit conditions does not give rise to a constitutional takings or due process claim by downdrift property owner adversely affected by permitted coastal rock revetment.
- Minute Man Airfield, Inc. v. Conservation Com’n of Boxborough, et al., 77 Mass.App.Ct. 1123 (2010) (Rescript). Obtained successful summary judgment decision, affirmed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, ruling that state and federal aeronautics safety regulations do not preempt local wetlands jurisdiction over a proposed vegetation management plan to preserve visibility in navigable airspace.
- Gobbi v. Texaco, Inc., et al., Norfolk Superior Court (Brady, J., 2009). Successfully defended private gas station operator in five day jury trial of environmental contamination claim under G.L. c.21E. At the close of evidence, obtained directed verdict precluding assessment of damages following co-defendant’s settlement of plaintiff’s clean-up claim for $425,000.
- T-Mobile Northeast, LLC v. Town of Weston, et al., (D. Mass. 2012). Successfully defended appeal under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 of local zoning board’s denial of variances that would permit construction of a telecommunications tower at a disfavored site location. Challenged plaintiff’s expert opinion on radio frequency engineering issues, resulting in plaintiff returning to work cooperatively with the Town to locate the tower at a favored municipally-owned site along with a mutually beneficial revenue sharing agreement.
- Plymouth v. Boston Edison Co., 71 Mass.App.Ct. 1107 (2008). Successfully appealed an adverse summary judgment decision ruling that an easement which was granted to Boston Edison in the 1960’s to allow construction of lines for the transmission of electricity, including lines for “communication, signal and control purposes,” entitled Edison’s successor, NSTAR, to lease space to wireless telecommunications carriers on infrastructure located in the area of easement. Ultimately reached a mutually beneficial settlement agreement with NSTAR, by which the Town agreed to amend the easement to expressly allow the continued operation of wireless telecommunications facilities in the area of easement, and NSTAR agreed to pay the Town a specified percentage of all past and future revenue derived from its leases with wireless telecommunications carriers operating out of the area of easement.
- Pappas v. Daniels, Norfolk Superior Court (Leibensperger, J., 2015). Successful bench trial, affirmed on appeal, of a dispute arising from a failed $2.3 million residential real estate purchase and sale agreement. Obtained judgment in excess of $180,000 after establishing through expert testimony, and cross-examination of defendant’s expert, that defendant lacked good and clear record and marketable title to convey the property, thereby excusing plaintiff’s failure to close on the property on the agreed closing date.
- Bakis v. Pagounis, Norfolk Superior Court (Brassard, J., 2003). Obtained $900,000 in settlement of a counterclaim asserted in defense of a commercial real estate contract dispute after three days of trial.
- Town of Weston v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, et al., Middlesex Superior Court (2015). Successfully litigated a breach of contract and G.L. c.93A lawsuit enabling the Town to complete a $13 million acquisition of real estate, key to the Town’s municipal planning concerns, along with the seller’s environmental remediation of contamination on the property under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan.
- Dedham v. Home Depot. Norfolk Superior Court (2000). Obtained $178,548 for the Town of Dedham in settlement of a breach of contract claim in order to fund engineering analyses to determine the extent of roadway and infrastructure improvements necessitated by a box-store commercial development.
- Hopedale v. Alderman & MacNeish, Inc. 2001 WL 544024, 13 Mass.L.Rptr. 91 (Mass.Super.2001). Obtained $140,000 in settlement of an architectural malpractice claim after a successful summary judgment ruling in which the Court accepted the Town’s argument that the defendant architect was subject to a six year statute of limitations governing contract actions for breach of express warranties, versus the three year limitations period ordinarily applicable to professional negligence claims, based upon the architect’s acceptance of a higher standard of care than that contained in the standard AIA contract.
Open Space/Urban Renewal
- Winchendon v. Dillon Investments, LLC, Lawyers Weekly No. 14-147-08 (Land Court, Scheier, C.J., October 30, 2008). Prevailed at trial of the Town’s claim seeking specific performance of an option to purchase more than 700 acres of valuable forestry land under G.L. c.61. Defeated the defendant/developer’s arguments that 1) the Town waived its specific performance rights by accepting the developer’s payment of roll-back taxes and re-classifying the property as unrestricted land after the developer’s purchase of the property, and 2) that if the Town were to prevail on its specific performance claim, the land had a fair market value of $1.8 million, versus the $1.2 million dollar purchase price which was tendered by the Town.
- Middleborough v. Freitas. Plymouth Superior Court (2003). Successfully litigated a vigorously contested Chapter 61A agricultural land case as special counsel for the Town of Middleborough, arguing that an owner’s “indicia of intent” to convert protected, agricultural land for future development as a residential subdivision was enough to trigger the Town’s specific performance rights under G.L. c.61A. Reached a favorable settlement during trial which enabled the Town to partner with The Nature Conservancy and the homeowner, in order to preserve an historic agricultural landscape along the Nemasket River in Southeastern Massachusetts.
- Winchendon v. Boyd. Land Court (2007). Obtained $583,706 in settlement of a contested Land Court foreclosure action, including 16% interest and attorneys’ fees, after defeating the defendant/developer’s summary judgment argument that a flaw in the Town’s original notice of taking voided any foreclosure action against subsequent purchasers until the tax taking process was initiated anew.
- City of Springfield. Successfully resolved hundreds of downtown real estate tax title delinquencies for the City of Springfield to assist in the City’s economic recovery and urban revitalization efforts.
- Dennis Housing Corp. v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Dennis, 439 Mass. 71 (2003). Landmark decision concerning definition of “local boards” subject to the comprehensive permit procedure under G.L. c.40B. While the Town’s historic district commission deemed a local board whose jurisdiction under special state legislation can be overridden by zoning board under G.L. c.40B, the zoning board cannot override local conservation commission jurisdiction over the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, or building inspector’s jurisdiction over the state building code.
- Adams Road Trust v. Grafton Board of Appeals. Successfully defended the Grafton Zoning Board of Appeals in a seven day trial of a developer’s appeal of a G.L. c.40B comprehensive permit decision. Obtained a ruling from the State’s Housing Appeals Committee upholding the validity of the Board’s denial of extension of Town water to the proposed 40B development on the grounds that the proposed extended water line would result in an increased likelihood of development through an area where the Town had intended to preserve rural character for open space purposes and natural resource protection, and that local needs thus outweighed the need for affordable housing with respect to the water line issue.
- Named a “Super Lawyer” in Land/Use Zoning in the 2020 edition of Super Lawyers Magazine
- Massachusetts Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section
- Conservation Commission, Town of Sherborn (2003-2009)
- Selectman, Town of Sherborn (2009-2012)
- Youth baseball coach, Dover-Sherborn Youth Baseball and Softball Association (2012-2019)
- Past volunteer, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay
- Massachusetts Bar, 1989
- New York Bar, 1990
- U.S. District Court (Mass.), 2000
Hofstra University School of Law
Juris Doctor, 1989
University of Massachusetts
Bachelor of Arts, 1986