Michael graduated with honors from Hofstra University Law School in 1989, where he was a member of the Hofstra Law Review. Michael has extensive experience in a wide range of state and federal environmental litigation. Starting with the seminal New York City Landfills Superfund cases, Michael has litigated many CERCLA cost recovery and toxic tort claims involving a range of contaminants from dry cleaning solvents (PCE) in groundwater to mercury, lead and other heavy metal contamination. As Chief of the General Litigation Section of the New York State Attorney General's Office Environmental Protection Bureau and as a Deputy Assistant Chief in the Environmental Law Division of the Office of the New York City Corporation Counsel, Michael litigated Navigation Law and RCRA imminent and substantial endangerment claims against several utilities. He also tried the first New York State Stormwater Construction General Permit case under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (more commonly called the Clean Water Act). He has appeared and argued cases in the New York state trial and appellate courts, United States District Courts and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
This background in hazardous materials litigation led to Michael's early and continuing involvement in obtaining voluntary cleanup agreements (VCAs) and brownfield cleanup agreements for clients under the State Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) and later under the State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). Among other projects, Michael obtained a VCA for the remediation of coal tar contamination at the former Keyspan (now National Grid) Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) site on 2nd Avenue and the Gowanus canal in Brooklyn and BCAs for the cleanup of petroleum contamination at Con Edison's former power plant properties on First Avenue in Manhattan.
Having started his career as a New York City Watershed enforcement attorney, Michael has extensive experience in water quality issues and has helped clients develop and obtain approval under the City Watershed Regulations of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) within the New York City Watershed. On waterfront development, Michael has helped clients to navigate the complex and sometime treacherous regulatory scheme that applies to such projects in tidal wetlands jurisdictional areas on Long Island, the five boroughs and the lower Hudson Valley. This includes assisting clients in applying for and obtaining Tidal Wetlands and Protection of Waters permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), individual Section 404 Permits or Nationwide Permit coverage from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), Section 401 Water Quality Certificates, Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) consistency determinations from the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS), and Coastal Erosion Hazard Area approvals.
Michael's strong governmental experience has lead him to represent many municipalities and school districts in complying with their environmental mandates under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), federal and state freshwater wetland laws, and the New York City watershed regulations. Michael is the firm's principal managing attorney.
Areas of Practice:
New York State Bar Association, Co-Chair, Toxic-Tort
Subcommittee, Environmental Law Section (1998-present)
New York County Lawyers Association, Chair, Environmental
Law Committee (1999-2000)
- Private Party Hazardous Material Litigation, The
Environmental Counselor, May 2001
- The New York State Voluntary Cleanup Program, SPRingboard,
November 10, 2000 Allocating Orphan Shares And Other
Private Party CERCLA Vagaries, ALI/ABA February 1999
- Hofstra University School of Law, (J.D. with Distinction,
- Member of the Hofstra Law Review
- Recipient of the Citation of Excellence for Community
- University of Rochester (Cum Laude, May 1986)
- Broich v. Nabisco, New York Law Journal Thursday,
September 5, 2002 (Supreme Court Suffolk County 2002).
- DiStefano v. Nabisco, Inc., 282 A.D.2d 704, 724
N.Y.S.2d 444 (2d Dep't 2001).
- Recipient New York County Lawyer's Association,
Rising Star Award, 2000.
- Delaney v. Town of Carmel, 55 F.Supp.2d 237, 49
ERC 1312 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).
- Toner v. United Broth. of Carpenters, 1999 WL 178784