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

Areas

Education

  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (J.D., 1988)
  • California State University (B.A., 1983)

Michael E. Vergara
Shareholder

Mike Vergara serves as outside litigation and general counsel to businesses and public entities that have environmental law issues. His deep knowledge of air, toxics, hazardous waste, and water quality law allows him to help government agencies and private companies with not only their daily business needs, but to adeptly deal with environmental issues that can quickly inhibit their operations.

Several industries, in particular, rely on Mike because of his in-depth understanding of how their industries operate. Telecommunications companies, utilities, ports, shipping, and trucking operations hire him because of his ability to combine his specialized knowledge of their industries with environmental compliance expertise and sound business strategies. Before his career in law, Mike spent a number of years as a journeyman parts man selling parts for big rig diesel trucks and semi-trailers—a background he calls upon frequently to understand shipping and trucking operations.

Mike is known among his clients for staying on the cutting-edge of environmental regulations such as California’s evolving cap-and-trade program, programs administered by the California Air Resources Board, and CERCLA and RCRA actions. He has 25 years of experience with the agencies that regulate California’s environmental laws and with litigating environmental cases. A fierce advocate for clients, Mike can also quickly find areas of agreement between agencies and clients, allowing businesses to spend less time and money arguing issues, freeing them to focus on running their businesses.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of practicing law for Mike is the rewarding client relationships. He likes learning about his clients’ businesses and the interests his clients have when they are not working. Mike also makes a point to have a variety of his own pursuits outside of law—the latest of which is finally learning to play piano.

Representative Matters

Water Resources

Represent irrigation district in action seeking declaration of parties’ rights under the terms of various agreements. (Turlock Irrigation District v. Modesto Irrigation District, Stanislaus County Superior Court Case No. 313589.)

Represent landowner in dispute over water rights. (Holmes v. Woods, Mono County Superior Court Case No. 14530.)

Represent water district in dispute over water rights. (Stevinson Water District, et al. v. Greenhouse Ranch, Merced County Superior Court Case No. 126222.)

Represent water district in action alleging wrongful diversions from canal. (Toth v. Stevinson Water District, Merced County Superior Court Case No. 142844.)

Water Quality

Defend and obtain summary judgment in Clean Water Act (CWA) action commenced by citizen group against a Butte County developer. (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Canyon Oaks, LLC, USDC Case No. CIV-S-99-1211.)

Advise former landowner regarding Notice of Violation under Water Code section 13267, et al., issued by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board alleging violation of California’s underground storage tank (UST) and groundwater regulations. (ID No. 900450289.)

Advise lender regarding Cleanup and Abatement Order issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board alleging violation of permit, etc. (Order No. R5-2004-0700.)

Defend commercial property owner against action commenced by Sacramento County District Attorney alleging violation of California UST and groundwater regulations. (People v. Convenience Acquisition Corp., Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 02AS01581.)

Defend commercial property owner against action alleging violation of state groundwater regulations, etc. (Rancho Grande Investors v. Convenience Acquisition Corp., Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 05AS02213.)

Defend Yolo County manufacturer in CWA action commenced by a citizen group. (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Gayle Manufacturing Company, USDC Case No. 2:07-CV-01261.)

Advise Sacramento County commercial property owner regarding Cleanup and Abatement Order issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. (Order No. R5-2003-0702.)

Advise commercial property owner regarding Notice of Violation under Water Code section 13267, et al., issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Defend City of Manteca against CWA action commenced by a citizen group. (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. City of Manteca, USDC Case No. 99-CV-01392.)

Defend UC Davis against CWA action commenced by a citizen group. (Waterkeepers of Northern California v. Vanderhoef, et al., USDC Case No. CIV-S-00-1140.)

Defend local mosquito control district against CWA action commenced by a citizen group. (Organic Sacramento, et al. v. Sacramento Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, USDC Case No. 05-CV-01574.)

Defend Peters Trucking Company against Notice of Violation under Water Code section 13267, et al., issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Defend manufacturer against CWA action commenced by a citizen group. (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance v. Stockton Tri Industries, USCD Case No. 06-CV-01140.)

Toxics and Hazardous Waste

Represent Sacramento County in CERCLA natural resource damage action against Aerojet-General Corp. (County of Sacramento v. Aerojet-General Corp., et al., USDC Case No. 2:09-CV-01814.)

Defend property owner against large multi-defendant CERCLA action commenced by the State. (State of California v. M&P Investments, et al., USDC Case No. 00-CV-2441.)

Defend trucking company against CERCLA action commenced by an oil recycling company. (Ramos Oil Recyclers, Inc. v. AWIM, Inc., USDC Case No. 07-CV-00448.)

Defend former dry-cleaning operator against CERCLA action. (Davis Enterprises v. Carrere, et al., USDC Case No. 99-CV-02010.)

Defend electronics manufacturer against an enforcement action commenced by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. (In the Matter of Econco Broadcast Services, Docket HWCA SRPD02/03NAE0-1285.)

Defend manufacturer of steel roll-up doors against CERCLA action commenced by the State. (State of California v. Cline and Agee, et al., USDC Case No. 92-CV-01600.)

Prosecute a CERCLA cost recovery action on behalf of commercial property owner. (Kotrous v. Goss-Jewett, et al., USDC Case No. 02-CV-01520.)

Advise the City of Reno regarding source control of PCE contamination, and draft ordinance creating permit system for dry-cleaners operating in the City.

Defend City of Roseville against CERCLA action commenced by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. (Dept. of Toxic Substances Control v. Brighton Oil Co., et al., USDC Case No. 02-CV-00018.)

Advise potential purchaser of commercial property located at McClellan Air Force Base on environmental issues impacting the property, and potential liability.

Advise developer of Mountain House Community Development regarding environmental issues affecting the project.

Advise Shriners Hospital regarding issues relating to remedial action impacting the client’s real property located in Yolo County.

Defend recycler of unused military munitions against an enforcement action commenced by the Department of Toxic Substances Control for alleged violations of California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law.

Represent landowner against CERCLA cost recovery action. (Tuthill’s, et al. v. Napa Garbage Service, et al., USDC Case No. 99-CV-02093.)

Defend City of Rocklin against CERCLA cost recovery action. (Boroski and Boroski v. City of Rocklin, USDC Case No. 95-CV-00935.)

Defend sign manufacturer against CERCLA cost recovery action. (Mountain Company, Inc. v. Norman, et al., USDC Case No. 93-CV-05080.)

Defend sign manufacturer against CERCLA cost recovery action commenced by the State of California. (State of California v. Sylvania Lighting Services, USDC Case No. CIV-S-89-0976.)

Defend local bank against CERCLA cost recovery action. (Mid Valley Bank v. North Valley Bank, USDC Case No CIV-S-88-1691.)

Defend former dry-cleaning operator against CERCLA action. (Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Payless Cleaners, et al., USDC Case No. CIV-S-02-2389.)

Defend trucking company against action alleging contamination claims relating to the release of oil and gasoline. (Ozark Trucking, Inc. v. Con-Way Western Express, et al., Yolo County Superior Court Case No. 71581.)

Natural Resources

Advise oil recycler regarding potential acquisition of used oil transfer facility in Lancaster, California.

Advise aggregate mining company regarding its effort to purchase an aggregate mine located in Alameda County.

Advise client regarding acquisition of three Northern California cement plants.

Advise client regarding issues relating to a chabazite mining claim located in Arizona.

Local Government

Defend City of Roseville against Proposition 218 action commenced by a citizen group. (Howard Jarvis Taxpayers v. City of Roseville, Placer County Superior Court Case No. SCV7831.)

Defend City of West Sacramento against action involving allocation of tax increment credits under an Owners Participation Agreement. (Raley’s v. City of West Sacramento, Yolo County Superior Court Case No. CV-05-1704.)

Advise Mid-Peninsula Open Space District regarding environmental issues affecting demolition of Almaden Air Force Base, and availability of funding from the U.S. Department of Defense under the FUDS program.

Advise Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative regarding environmental issues relating to acquisition of Sierra Army Depot.

Represent landowners in Reclamation District No. 1004 regarding effort to qualify recall election.

Serve as contract City Attorney for the City of Isleton.

Defend City of Isleton in Public Records Act case. (Calvert v. City of Isleton, Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 05CS01236.)

Defend City of Isleton against action alleging violations of zoning ordinances, and alleged violations of the Public Records Act. (Swepston v. City of Isleton, Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 04CS015555.)

Negotiate contract on behalf of the City of Redding for the lease and maintenance of a Catalytic Absorption System for the City’s peaking power plant.

Represent the City of Redding in a contract dispute relating to the construction of the City’s peaking power plant. (City of Redding v. National Energy Production Corporation, USDC Case No. CIV-S-97-0852.)

Advise the City of Redding regarding contamination discovered at its intermodal transportation facility.

Advise the City of Roseville on issues relating to California’s electric power restructuring.

Defend the City of Roseville in a dispute regarding its obligation to allocate a portion of its waste treatment plant capacity to an adjacent local utility district. (City of Roseville v. South Placer Municipal Utility District, Placer County Superior Court Case No. 98AS02099.)

Represent San Juan Unified School District in an action against a local water district regarding the assessment of a capital improvement fee. (San Juan Unified School District v. Arcade Water District, Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 00AS01425.)

Defend Truckee Donner Public Utility District against a ratepayer lawsuit. (Baker v. Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Nevada County Superior Court Case No. CIV-S-99-2326.)

Defend Truckee Donner Public Utility District against an action commenced by a cable television company over access to district owned utility poles. (Truckee Donner Public Utility District v. USA Media Group, LLC, USDC Case No. CIV-S-99-2326.)

Defend Turlock Irrigation District in action commenced by adjacent county to enjoin installation of power poles. (County of Merced Irrigation District v. Turlock Irrigation District, Merced County Superior Court Case No. 138194.)

Represent the California School Board Association’s Education Alliance in case involving assessments for capital improvements. (Utility Cost Management v. Indian Wells Valley Water District, 26 Cal.4th 1185 (2001).)

Defend the City of Redding in a contract dispute over claims relating to construction of the City’s peaking power facility. (City of Redding v. National Energy Production Corporation, et al., USDC Case No. CIV-S-97-0852.)

Defend subsidiary of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative in action alleging misappropriation of trade secrets. (L.C. Communications, Inc. v. Got SKY Unlimited, et al., Placer County Superior Court Case No. SCV26611.)

Agricultural Resources

Defend Arizona milk producer in action commenced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture seeking to enforce California’s milk standards. (People v. Shamrock Foods Company, San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 702204.)

Represent various dairies in challenge to California’s Pooling Plan for Market Milk. (Hillside Dairy, Inc., et al. v. Kawamura, 317 F.Supp.2d 1194 (E.D. Ca. 2004).)

Air Resources

Advise Michigan electric utility regarding the impact of Clean Air Act and Climate Change legislation on its operation of a coal-fired electric power plant.

Defend operator of a Placer County co-generation electric plant in action commenced by local air district alleging permit violations. (People of the State of California v. Sierra Pacific Industries, Inc., Sacramento County Superior Court No. SCV 17449.)

Defend distributor of car cleaners and waxes against a consumer products action commenced by the Air Resources Board for alleged violation of air quality regulations. (People of the State of California v. Liquid Glass Enterprises, Inc., Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. BC427662.)

Advise Save Mart Supermarkets regarding compliance with San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District regulations.

Reported Cases

  • United States v. Atl. Research Corp., 127 S.Ct. 2331 (2007).
  • Kotrous v. Goss-Jewett, 2005 US Dist. Lexis 18013 (E.D. Ca. June 16, 2005).
  • Kotrous v. Goss-Jewett, 2005 US Dist. Lexis 18014 (E.D. Ca. Aug. 23, 2005).
  • Hillside Dairy v. Kawamura, 317 F.Supp.2d 1194 (E.D. Ca. 2004).
  • Util. Cost Mgmt v. Indian Wells Valley Water Dist., 26 Cal.4th 1185 (2001).

Education

  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (J.D., 1988)
  • California State University (B.A., 1983)