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

News

Preti Flaherty Attorneys Mariana Baron and Nelson Larkins Honored by Maine Supreme Judicial Court for Pro Bono Service

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that attorneys Mariana Baron and Nelson Larkins have been honored by the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program for their 2021 contributions to pro bono legal aid in the state...

Publication

Maine Supreme Court Affirms Decision in Workers’ Compensation Case Regarding Notice Requirements

In  Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal  (2021 ME 63 [December 16, 2021]), the question presented is whether an employee is required to give notice of his occupational disease claim to his former employer’s insurer...

News

Preti Flaherty Attorney Sigmund D. Schutz Named to AAA Roster of Arbitrators

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that attorney Sigmund Schutz was recently named to the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Roster of Arbitrators. AAA is a not-for-profit organization in the field of alternative dispute resolution...

Publication

EPA Makes History With First-Ever Addition of Hazardous Air Pollutant

After a decade-long back-and-forth with states, NGOs and industry groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finally announced that it will add a powerful dry cleaning solvent, 1-bromopropane, or “1-BP” to its list of...

News

Preti Flaherty Partnership Announces Promotion to Partner of Kristin Collins and John Cronan, III

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named two new partners: Kristin M. Collins and John J. Cronan, III. Both attorneys stand out as distinguished practitioners within their respective fields...

Press Coverage

Preti Flaherty Attorneys Walker and Sedlack Provide Counsel in Portland Recount Battle

After two days, hours of discussions, reported discrepancies in voting machines, and a hand recount of ballots, Roberto Rodriguez emerged as the winner of Portland’s at-large city council election. The hotly contested race was the first ranked-choice...

News

Preti Flaherty Welcomes Attorney Jeffrey Thaler to the Firm

In a move that significantly expands its pioneering Climate Strategy Practice Group, Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios, LLP is pleased to announce that it has hired Jeffrey Thaler, a leading climate and clean energy...

Publication

Legislative Alert: Convening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 130th Legislature

The Second Regular Session of the 130 th Legislature will convene next Wednesday, January 5 th at 10 a.m. This is intended to be an in-person session of both the House and Senate with...

Press Coverage

Maine Newspapers Fight Anonymous Testimony in Lawsuit Challenging Vaccine Mandate

A group of newspapers in Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville, represented by Preti Flaherty attorney Sigmund Schutz, have filed a motion in federal court requesting the identity of nine healthcare workers seeking religious exemption from the state's...

Publication

What Do the Supreme Court's Vaccination Rulings Mean for Your Business?

Reflecting the deep rift in public opinion concerning the government’s role in dictating how businesses, health care entities and public sector employers ought to act to stem the spread of COVID-19, a divided U.S. Supreme...