Michael has practiced for more than 35 years in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, adjudication, acquisition, transfer, and defense of water rights, and federal and state administrative law. He represents clients in Takings Claims against the United States, involving water and grazing rights. Michael is the lead attorney in a defense class action case involving more than 4,500 water rights owners. He also represents one of the largest irrigation districts in the State of Nevada.
Michael has extensive experience with hazardous waste, wetlands laws, NEPA, CEQA, Superfund, Clean Air, Clean Water, Safe Drinking Water, Endangered Species Acts, and California's Proposition 65. Under the Clean Water Act, he represents both governmental and private entities sued by citizens groups for alleged violations of storm water and effluent discharge permits. Under Proposition 65, he successfully represented multiple defendants in challenging test methods for detection of lead in plumbing products. He has resolved numerous Proposition 65 cases for companies both inside and outside California without resorting to litigation.
Michael served as chief of environmental law for several Department of Defense organizations. He was the primary environmental law advisor to five major maintenance complexes. He also served as Assistant General Counsel for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization of the Department of Defense. He is a retired Air Force Officer.
San Francisco Baykeeper v. City of Milbrae. Citizens group alleged thousands of violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Successfully negotiated Consent Judgment favorable to the City that incorporated ongoing upgrades to City's sanitary sewer system into court approved agreement.
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc. Citizens group sued industrial facility for alleged violation of its stormwater discharge permit. Case was dismissed by plaintiff three days after summary judgment was filed.
Truckee-Carson Irrigation District. Representing the largest irrigation district in Nevada in ongoing litigation against the United States and various entities over water rights on the Carson and Truckee Rivers in California and Nevada. Cases involve endangered species, wetlands, federal water decrees, federal Reclamation Act, Indian Tribe trust obligations, and federal contract law.
White Collar Criminal Case. Lead counsel for five defendants in criminal indictment against a political subdivision and its officers accused of falsifying official reports to a federal agency. Case was resolved with full dismissals of all defendants based on motions to dismiss filed by the defense team.
Friends of Hope Valley v. Frederick Company. Case involved assertion of a public easement under California law over a 700 acre parcel in Alpine County. Case was voluntarily dismissed just before trial based on defense evidence that would prevent plaintiff from proving a continuous easement for five years across the entire parcel.
"Ninth Circuit Rules No Arranger Liability for Smelter's Air Pollutants under CERCLA," Environmental & Natural Resources Law Alert (August 2016)
"Prop 65: New Threshold for Calculating Exposure to Chemicals," Prop 65 Law Alert (March 2015)
"California Supreme Court Upholds CEQA Exemption Despite Potential Environmental Impacts," Environmental & Natural Resources Law Alert (March 2015)
"State Water Resources Control Board Requires Additional Reporting by Riparian and Pre-1914 Water Right Owners," co-author, Water Law Alert (February 2015)
"Unique Real Property Rights of Seniors in the Western United States," Experience – American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division (July 2014)
"California Water Action Plan Finalized Amidst Historic Drought Conditions," co-author, Water Law Alert (February 2014)
"Boiler Systems Can End Up Being an 'Area Source' For Certain Emissions," co-author, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Alert (January 2014)
"Supreme Court's Koontz Ruling a Victory for Landowners," Land Use Law Alert (July 2013)
"Clean Water Act," Water Law Alert (January 2013)
"Property Rights and Environmental Initiatives," chapter author, Environmental Legal Insights: Top Environmental Lawyers Share What They Know Best (October 2012)
"California Supreme Court Decides 30 Day Statute Of Limitations Applies To Determination That No Environmental Review Is Required Under CEQA," Water Law Alert (February 2010)
"California Court of Appeal Reaffirms Traditional Common Law Formula For Determining Boundary Lines Between Littoral Land Owners," Water Law Alert (February 2010)
"California's Proposition 65: The Environmental Long-Arm Statute's Effect on Industry," Environmental Alert (Fall 2008)
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"Inter-Jurisdictional Stream Flow Management: Case Study of the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA)," Law Seminars International's Water Resource Management, Science and the Law Conference (May 2016)
"Water Management in Times of Drought," co-speaker, Water Rights in Nevada Annual Conference (March 2016)
"Water Rights Due Diligence, Availability Analysis and Transfers," Lorman Webinar (August 2015)
"Water Rights Due Diligence, Availability Analysis and Transfers," Lorman Webinar (February 2015)
"Federal Criminal Enforcement Issues and Recent Takings Cases," Northern California County Counsels' Association (July 2011)
"Securing Water Rights in the Face of Environmental and Water Supply Concern: Making Secure Water Rights and Restoration Co-Equal," California Water Law Symposium (January 2011)
"California Environmental Quality Act 101," Nevada Bar Association (November 2010)
"Federal Criminal Enforcement Action Against Political Subdivisions And Other Governmental Entities On The Rise?" ACWA Continuing Legal Education for Water Law Professionals Conference (September 2010)
"Water Rights – Hage v. United States," State Bar of Nevada (June 2009)
"Hage v. United States: Lessons Learned in the Western Water Rights Clash with Federal Agencies," Nevada Water Resources Association (February 2009)
"The Evolution of Water Rights Transfer Law in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals," co-speaker, Water Rights Sales and Transfers in California Seminar, Lorman Educational Services (July 2008)
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"Sanctions Denied Where Disposal Allegation Is Supported by Circumstantial Evidence," Toxics Law Reporter (August 2011)
"Ninth Circuit Rules Approved Wetlands Jurisdictional Determination by Corps Not Final Agency Action Under APA and Not Reviewable," California Water Law and Policy (October 2008)
"Victory at Pine Creek," Range Magazine (Fall 2008)
Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow
Northern California Super Lawyers (2004-2006)