Karla Chaffee focuses her practice on land use litigation and transactions. She is a member of the firm’s Land Use and Real Estate + Development Groups.
Land Use Litigation
Karla handles complex federal litigation involving the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), First Amendment, and Equal Protection Clause. She is a member of the firm’s RLUIPA practice group and is a contributor to its blog, RLUIPA Defense. Karla also handles environmental litigation, and she defends claims brought under state and federal law, such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
She is skilled at negotiating dispute settlements and achieving success for her clients in court if their case goes to trial. Her successes include negotiating a favorable resolution for a national public utility company which faced environmental claims.
Land Use - Transactional
Karla performs due diligence work for real estate transactions prior to acquisition and financing. She assesses environmental risk of properties and determines what mitigation measures are needed, to help clients make the best business decisions and avoid potential liability. Finding appropriate mitigation measures has given her the opportunity to negotiate the terms of purchase and sale agreements, liability transfer documents, and insurance policies. She works with sellers, buyers and lenders to ensure a successful transaction.
Karla provides guidance to clients seeking local zoning approvals. She counsels them on the impact of proposed or recently enacted land use legislation, as well as on land use trends across the country. Ms. Chaffee also serves on her local zoning board of appeals.
Pro Bono and Community Involvement
Karla is a member of Robinson+Cole's Pro Bono Committee, and is dedicated to doing pro bono work as part of her practice. She has helped multiple individuals and families obtain asylum in the United States. She has also worked with nonprofit organizations to help them obtain tax-exempt status. Karla assisted a local "friends" organization in preserving and adding land to a national park after a title dispute with the park’s abutting property owner. She also was part of a group of Robinson+Cole lawyers who helped a soup kitchen and food pantry continue operating in Norwich after the city denied a special permit and use variance.
Karla was selected as a Rising Star in the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list from 2016 to 2019.