Biography

Michael Thomas is an accomplished environmental and land use attorney with high-level experience in both government service and private practice. A former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement attorney, he focuses his work on assisting clients with Superfund, brownfields and other hazardous waste issues, and he regularly works on compliance, permitting, enforcement defense and other matters in these areas. In addition to representing clients, Michael also regularly serves as an expert witness in environmental litigation matters.

Michael has extensive experience in Superfund liability allocation processes including divisibility of harm issues as a third party neutral, an expert witness, and counsel assisting clients with strategic planning for allocating responsibility in the Superfund site context as well as in mergers and acquisitions. He has led and participated in numerous multi-disciplinary teams conducting complex environmental liability allocation compliance, permitting, and litigation projects that have involved collaboration, mediation and more formal dispute resolution processes among hundreds of adversaries, teams of citizen groups, environmental engineers, scientists and consulting firms.  Michael has prepared a number of expert witness reports, mediation statements and related materials in the CERCLA allocation context, has been deposed several times and has testified at trial on allocation issues.

In his land use and zoning practice, Michael represents businesses and individuals in real estate, local affairs and permitting, including wetlands protection, stormwater, groundwater, public drinking water systems and surface water discharge issues.

Prior to joining Preti Flaherty in an Of Counsel status, Michael operated a private legal practice focused on environmental counseling (which practice will continue) and had worked as a partner in two international law firms. Before entering private practice, he held several senior legal roles at the EPA, including serving as the deputy lead Headquarters attorney managing the agency’s hazardous waste enforcement efforts under RCRA and the Senior Regional Counsel Attorney managing Superfund enforcement sites in the New England region.

Professional Activities

  • National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals, U.S. Institute of Environmental Conflict Resolution, Member (2003 - Present)

Honors & Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating
  • Top-Rated Land Use and Zoning Lawyer by American Lawyer
  • U.S. EPA Gold Medal for outstanding and precedential Superfund case management
  • Editor, Yale Studies in World Public Order, journal of international law and policy (1981)
  • Yale School of Organization and Management, Teaching Assistant, Professor Geoffrey Hazard (1981)
  • Thomas I. Emerson Prize, Best Yale Legislative Services Project, Hazardous Waste Liability Act for Massachusetts (became M.G.L. C. 21E) (1980)
  • Editor, Yale Law Journal, Note, Tort Actions for Cancer; 90 Yale L.J. 840 (1980)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, MIT (1974)

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Certified Yoga Teacher, CYT-200
  • Trauma Center, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Certification (certification pending)
  • Warriors at Ease Certified, Yoga and Meditation Training to Military Community

Firm Highlights

Publication

The Role of the Additional Insured

Insurance is an important and effective tool for reducing and allocating risks. However, insurance terms can be confusing which may lead to a misunderstanding of a policy's protections, particularly when dealing with "named insureds,"...

News

Preti Flaherty Partnership Announces Promotion of Moppin, Rideout, White to Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named three new partners: Sara N. Moppin, Laura A. Rideout, and Emily T. White.  Each attorney stands out as a distinguished practitioner within...

Publication

Maine Workers' Comp Alert: Updates from the WCB February Monthly Business Meeting

The WCB met remotely on February 9, 2021, for its monthly business meeting. Following are some developments with respect to an appeal accepted by the Maine Supreme Court and claims related to Covid-19. COVID-Coded...

Event

From Concord: A Legislative Update for HR Professionals

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, all legislative activities in the state of New Hampshire, with a couple of exceptions, will be handled remotely. Several employment-related bills will be considered and voted on during this...

Event

Understanding and Navigating the She-cession

New employment data shows that women are 1.8 times more likely to have left or lost their job due to COVID-19. Between remote schooling, daycare closures, and lost support systems, women have been forced...

Event

From Augusta: A Legislative Update for HR Professionals

On March 13, 2020, Maine Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker of the House Sara Gideon issued a joint statement to the 129th Maine Legislature signifying their intention to suspend the remainder of the...

Publication

Answering Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Questions

As COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available, employers are faced with big questions. Can we mandate vaccines for employees ? How do we manage a return to work ? Preti Flaherty's Peter Callaghan breaks...

Press Coverage

Maine Newspapers Challenge Rule Concealing Electronic Court Records

A Maine court committee in December established a 90-day blackout period rule on public access to newly filed electronic court records, a move which has been challenged by Maine's newspapers as a violation of the First Amendment. Paper...

News

Racial Justice Fund Seeks Applications for Inaugural Round of Grants

The Maine Justice Foundation is pleased to announce the inaugural grant cycle for its Racial Justice Fund. The Foundation will accept applications for grants of up to $10,000 until the deadline on Wednesday, March...

Press Coverage

Maine blazes workplace trail with earned paid leave requirement

In March of 2019, Maine became the first state in the nation to adopt an earned paid leave law, meaning that for every 40 hours worked, an employee banks one hour of earned paid...