Don Pinto has over 35 years of experience as a civil litigator with a focus on complex real estate and land use disputes. He handles cases at the trial and appellate levels in the state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. Outside the courtroom Don has successfully resolved many disputes through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

Don is also the founder, editor, and one of several authors of Massachusetts Dirt and Development Law, the firm's real estate law blog.

Before joining Pierce Atwood, Don was a director of the Boston firm Rackemann Sawyer & Brewster, P.C.

Notable Experience

Don represents clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies that own, buy, sell, and develop real estate, in matters such as:

  • Defense of zoning and other permits granted for commercial development
  • Appeals of permit denials including zoning, wetlands, and subdivision control law
  • Disputes over the validity of zoning and other land use regulations 
  • Matters involving tidelands and filled tidelands regulated under M.G.L. c.91
  • Real estate title disputes
  • Disputes concerning easements and access rights
  • Adverse possession and prescriptive easement claims
  • Disputes involving affordable housing under M.G.L. c.40B
  • Disputes involving offers to purchase, purchase and sale agreements, options, rights of first refusal, and restrictive covenants
  • Representation of owners, buyers, and sellers of contaminated property
  • Disputes arising out of commercial leases
  • Damages claims based on trespass, nuisance, and other property-related torts

Don’s real estate litigation practice includes extensive experience in the Massachusetts Land Court, where he has handled hundreds of cases, and the Massachusetts Appeals Court, where he has handled dozens of appeals.

Published Appellate Decisions

  • Navy Yard Four Associates, LLC v. Department of Environmental Protection, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 213 (2015) (challenge to denial of amendment of waterways license; validity of DEP regulations)
  • American Venture 594 Corp. v. A. Russo & Sons, Inc., 79 Mass. App. Ct. 770 (2011) (interpretation and enforcement of land-use restriction in settlement agreement)
  • Spillane v. Adams, 76 Mass. App. Ct. 378 (2010) (proof of title to oceanfront property; location of mean low water mark)
  • Duddy v. Mankewich, 75 Mass. App. Ct. 62 (2009) (enforcement of implied easement over registered land)
  • Carabetta v. Board of Appeals of Truro, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 266 (2008) (defense of claim that lots merged for zoning purposes)
  • Wall Street Dev. Corp. v. Planning Bd. of Westwood, 72 Mass. App. Ct. 844 (2008) (challenge to denial of subdivision approval; validity of zoning bylaws)
  • Boothroyd v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Amherst, 449 Mass. 333 (2007) (defense of comprehensive permit to build affordable housing under M.G.L. c. 40B)
  • Boothroyd v. Bogartz, 68 Mass. App. Ct. 40 (2007) (defense of claim for prescriptive easement)
  • Duddy v. Mankewich, 66 Mass. App. Ct. 789 (2006) (defense of “Approval Not Required” endorsement)
  • Germagian v. Berrini, 60 Mass. App. Ct. 456 (2004) (enforcement of form Offer to Purchase)
  • Rubenstein v. Royal Ins. Co. of America, 429 Mass. 355 (1999) (recovery of attorneys’ fees for insurer’s breach of its duty to defend)
  • Rubenstein v. Royal Ins. Co. of America, 44 Mass. App. Ct. 842 (1998) (insurance coverage for claims arising from environmental contamination)
  • McCarthy v. Oak Bluffs, 330 Mass. App. Ct. 530 (1991) (claim involving title to registered land, dockage rights)
  • V.S.H. Realty, Inc. v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Plymouth, 30 Mass. App. Ct. 530 (1991) (appeal of denial of special permit to construct shopping center)

Summary Appellate Decisions under Appeals Court Rule 23.0

  • CEA Brimbal LLC v. 143 Brimbal Avenue, LLC, 230 N.E.3d 1065 (2024) (defense of zoning approvals for mixed-use retail, fabrication, and storage facility)
  • Connelly v. Doyle, 103 Mass. App. Ct. 1006 (2023) (recognition of implied easement over registered land for beach access)
  • Overcreek, LLC v. LeClaire, 101 Mass. App. Ct. 1109 (2022) (dispute over scope of view easement)
  • Conway v. Planning Bd. of Westford, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 (2020) (appeal of subdivision approval)
  • Browne v. Planning Bd. of Beverly, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 1125 (2017) (defense of approval of residential subdivision)
  • Browne v. Conservation Comm’n of Beverly, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 1121 (2014) (defense of wetlands approval for residential subdivision)
Honors & Distinctions
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® for Land Use and Zoning Law and Real Estate Law (2017-present)
  • Selected to Massachusetts Super Lawyers for Land Use and Zoning in Boston (2010-2022)
  • Received JD Supra Readers' Choice Top Author Award for Real Estate (2018)
  • Rated Superb by
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell
Professional Activities
  • The Abstract Club
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Board of Directors of REBA, the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts (2009-2012)
  • Co-chair, REBA Litigation Committee (2009-2012)

Practice Areas