Somach Simmons and Dunn, Attorneys at Law Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Areas

Education

  • University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder (J.D., 1988)
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins (M.A., 1988)
  • University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1982)

Admissions

  • California
  • Colorado

Michael A. Gheleta
Shareholder

Mike Gheleta has built a national reputation as a litigation and trial attorney who has handled some of the nation’s highest-profile and most complex water, public land, and federal reclamation law cases.  Among his accomplishments as a litigator has been his work as litigation counsel for two U.S. Presidents when he defended multiple challenges to presidential establishment of national monuments encompassing four million acres of public lands in the West, prevailing in all cases.

He is a skilled litigator who, as a result of over twenty years of experience within the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice, understands the interplay between federal agencies, the roles of various officials, and how to forge relationships and achieve results within these complex environments.  In addition to his record of substantive accomplishment in the courtroom, Mike is known for being adept at the procedural issues that streamline litigation on behalf of clients and obtain positive results in an efficient manner.

Prior to establishing Somach Simmons and Dunn’s Colorado office, Mike was Acting Assistant Solicitor, Water & Power, in the Solicitor’s Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he handled and supervised attorney work on issues involving water law, federal reclamation law, and Indian water rights.  He led and coordinated with teams of attorneys working on major water disputes, litigation and settlements, including Trinity River flow augmentation, Republican River compact and water rights administration, and Arizona groundwater and tribal water issues.  He also previously worked as a Trial and Supervisory Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division in Sacramento and Denver.  In addition to his public land litigation work for the U.S., he has had notable results on litigation challenging the All-American Canal Lining Project, and litigation challenging federal operations and interests on the Colorado River.

Mike’s ability to navigate water issues in the courtroom is closely rivaled by his ability to navigate the water itself.  Mike has decades of experience as a whitewater river guide and has traveled some of the West’s and the world’s most-storied rivers.  He has led groups through the Grand Canyon on five occasions and has guided expeditions through China on four different rivers, including one that had never been navigated.

Reported Cases

  • Utah Ass’n of Counties v. Bush, 316 F.Supp.2d 1172 (D. Utah 2004), 455 F.3d 1094 (10th Cir. 2006).
  • Consejo de Desarrollo Economico de Mexicali v. United States, 438 F.Supp.2d 1207 (D. Nev. 2006), 417 F.Supp.2d 1176 (D. Nev. 2006).
  • Strawberry Water Users Ass’n v. United States, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19767 (D. Utah 2006).
  •  Mt. States Legal Foundation v. Bush, 306 F.3d 1132 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
  • Tulare County v. Bush, 185 F.Supp.2d 18 (D.D.C. 2001), 306 F.3d. 1138 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
  •  Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. United States, 259 F.Supp.2d 1237 (S.D. Fla. 2002).
  • Utah Ass’n of Counties v. Clinton, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22476 (D. Utah 1998).
  •  Bd. of County Comm’rs v. United States (In re Application for Water Rights of Bd. Of County Comm’rs), 891 P.2d 952 (Colo. 1995).
  • Westlands Water District v. United States, 805 F.Supp. 1503 (E.D. Cal. 1992).
  • United States v. Oregon Water Resources Dep’t, 774 F.Supp. 1568 (D. Or. 1991), 44 F.3d 758 (9th Cir. 1994).

Education

  • University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder (J.D., 1988)
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins (M.A., 1988)
  • University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1982)

Admissions

  • California
  • Colorado