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Saulius K. Mikalonis

Senior Attorney

  • Licensed Since: 1986
  • Joined Firm: 2009
38505 Woodward Ave.
Suite 2000
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
TEL: (248) 901-4022
FAX: (248) 901-4040
Areas of Practice
Honors & Awards
  • Top Lawyer in Environmental Law, dbusiness Magazine, 2014
Education
  • University of Oregon Law School, J.D., 1986
  • University of Michigan, B.A., 1980
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Michigan, 1986
  • District of Columbia, 1988
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1991
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2004

A senior attorney in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Saulius K. Mikalonis serves as Plunkett Cooney's Environment, Energy and Resources Law Practice Group Leader.

Mr. Mikalonis focuses his practice in all aspects of environmental, energy and sustainability law. His experience in environmental litigation includes environmental consultant malpractice, cost recovery, toxic torts, solid and hazardous waste facilities citations and wetland issues.

Mr. Mikalonis has developed particular expertise in the cutting-edge issues of environmental, natural resources and energy law concerning greenhouse gases, renewable energy and green building.

In addition, Mr. Mikalonis has extensive experience in commercial and real estate transactional issues ranging from the development of environmentally sensitive and Brownfield sites to due diligence in complex transactions, including the identification, allocation and reduction of environmental risks.

Mr. Mikalonis has been published extensively on various environmental topics, and he frequently provides legal updates to professional and business organizations. In addition, he writes a blog, titled: Green Blawg, which addresses laws, regulations, court decisions and policies pertaining to environmental issues.

Mr. Mikalonis is a member of the State Bar of Michigan's Environmental Law Section, the District of Columbia Bar Association, the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, and the U.S. Green Building Council-Detroit Area Chapter.

Representative Client Work

  • Conducted environmental due diligence (reviewed files and reported finding) for international companies purchasing companies with domestic and international locations. Oversaw environmental responses to site conditions for several years, including ensuring acquired facilities resolved environmental issues and directing local counsel and consultants in out-of-state jurisdictions
  • Provided due diligence in purchase by large electrical utility of other electrical cogeneration plants. Identified environmental risks and allocated and averted them through the sale of contaminated properties, as well as environmental insurance. Reviewed environmental site assessments and provided advice on potential liabilities
  • Worked closely on multiple Superfund sites, including sites in California, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey and Alabama. Negotiated and coordinated responses to information requests from the Environmental Protection Agency and potentially responsible parties steering committees
  • Managed cost recovery lawsuits whereby clients initiated negotiation/litigation to recover environmental response costs from other companies
  • Negotiated favorable settlement with recalcitrant company, as well as cost recovery related to Newburgh Lake project on behalf of Wayne County
  • Captured significant costs for manufacturer in settlement related to spill from the neighboring property owner
  • Defended cost recovery actions for several parties, including claims by subsequent owner of client facility in Pennsylvania
  • Litigated two toxic mold matters on behalf of home builder and apartment owner, which resulted in a finding of no liability and an extremely favorable settlement, respectively
  • Contributed to binding arbitration for claims concerning improper building and damages for alleged health effects on tenants
  • Provided legal advice on regulatory compliance concerning air, water, solid/hazardous waste, underground/aboveground storage tanks and wetland issues
  • Led compliance audit for manufacturing company, including intensive review of processes and waste handling to identify potential state and federal environmental violations. Reviewed environmental consultant report and identified instances of noncompliance. Worked closely with environmental consultants to achieve compliance with Michigan state self-audit laws.
  • Collaborated with communities and private companies to leverage state/local programs designed to rehabilitate former brownfield sites, including construction of a new Ann Arbor YMCA building. Negotiated brownfield redevelopment agreement with a municipality on behalf of the client
  • Worked closely with transactional attorneys on real estate transactions by providing due diligence. Identified previously unknown underground storage tank, registered tank with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and removed Underground Storage Tank to expedite transaction
  • Obtained multimillion-dollar settlement for dairy farmers from a major utility company to compensate for stray voltage
  • Represented City of Taylor and Charter Township of Van Buren on a variety of legal issues, including initiative to site municipal landfill
  • Won $250,000 settlement from owner of an office building for a mold claim
  • Represented a business attempting to develop multiuse real estate project requiring wetland permit
  • Negotiated settlements to contribution suits against more than 300 customers of a landfill
  • Established falsehood of groundwater monitoring test results providing impetus to close landfill
  • Provided legal advice on underlying environmental liabilities in insurance coverage disputes for nation's largest program of environmental liability insurance. Managed complex multiparty litigation, drafting of opinion letters and pleadings. Oversaw local counsel and instructed attorneys, clients and prospective clients on legal matters
  • Offered advice on environmental considerations for real estate transactions, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act information, NEPA challenges, MEPA, underground storage tanks, and other environmental issues
  • Directed more than 350 claims and lawsuits against Environmental Impairment Liability coverage policies across the United States

Professional Affiliations

  • Oakland County Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan (Environmental Law Section Council, 1997-2003; Vice-Chair, Environmental Litigation Committee; Solid and Hazardous Waste/Insurance Committee; Real Property Section)
  • District of Columbia Bar 
  • American Bar Association (Environment, Energy and Resources Section;  Sustainable Development: Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee, Vice-Chair) 
  • Vice Chair for Sustainable Development for the Committee Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems
  • U.S. Green Building Council (Board of Directors – Detroit Area Chapter; Past Secretary and Chair of Public Policy Committee)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers

Community Involvement

  • WJR-AM – Weekly Radio Show "New Ecology Law Program"
  • Berkley Youth Hockey Association, Coach/Assistant Hockey Coach 
  • Huntington Woods Aquatic Club, Parent Board Member 
  • Coach/Assistant Soccer Coach

Articles and Lectures

  • Environmental Liability Concerns for Banks & Lenders, Presenter, Bank of America, Chicago, April 23, 2013
  • "Sustainability: How Values-Driven Law Firms are Surviving Tough Times and Prospering Over the Long Term," Teleconference Moderator, American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Nov. 3, 2010
  • "Joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations for light-duty cars and trucks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel economy," presenter, Sunshine State Chapter of NAFA Fleet Management Association, University Central Florida Solar Center, Cocoa Beach, August 13, 2010
  • "Green Building Update for Local Governments," speaker and panelist, Oakland County's OakGreen Sustainable Community Seminar Series, June 10, 2010
  • Executive Strategy Session on Energy Policy and Future, panelist, DTE Energy/Engineering Society of Detroit Energy Conference and Exhibition, May 4, 2010 
  • "Due Process - Environmental Law," Guest, DPTV Channel 56, March 5, 2010
  • "New Ecology Law Program," WJR-AM - Weekly Radio Show, 2008-2009
  • “See the Light, Save the Money: Sustainable Lighting Solutions for Local Governments,” Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, Engineering Society of Detroit, and the United States Green Building Council - Detroit Regional Chapter, February 2009
  •  “Green Building & Sustainable Development: TheNew Competitive Advantage,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Real Property Law Section, February 2009
  • "Great Lakes Log", Guest, WMTV-TV discussion regarding Environmental Protection Agency
  • Regulations for Incidental Discharges from Vessels, August 2008
  • "Great Lakes Log", Guest, WMTV-TV discussion regarding Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Compact, July 2008
  • “Brownfield Basics: Bringing Contaminated and Obsolete Properties Back from the Dead,” Guest Lecturer, Walsh College, Environmental Economics Masters Level, April 2008
  • Wetland Regulation After Rapanos, Panel Member, Michigan State Bar Annual Meeting, Environmental Law Section, September 2006
  • Water Pollution Issues, National Business Institute, July 2004
  • Insurance Issues for Mold Claims, September 2003
  • Michigan Construction Defect and Mold Litigation, National Business Institute, September 2002
  • Site Selection and Site Development Seminar, Wayne State University, Urban Land Institute, and the Real Estate Journal, March 2002
  • Building Related Illness/Sick Building Syndrome, October 2001
  • “Compliance Strategies for Contractors Environmental Issues,” Michigan Chapter of Associated General Contractors, October 2001
  • “Michigan Environmental Planning and Litigation Update, Expert Testimony in Environmental Litigation,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, July 1998
  • Citizen Involvement in Environmental Decision Making, State Bar of Michigan Annual Meeting, Environmental Law Section, September 1997
  • “Legal Aspects of Lead Based Paint inReal Estate Transactions,” Southeastern Michigan Real Estate Professionals, January 1997
  • “Update '95, Interstate Solid Waste Capacity Limitations,” State Bar of Michigan, Environmental Law Section, October 1995
  • “SCOR - Paris, France, American Environmental Law Issues,” Environmental Impairment Liability Claims Meeting, July 1990

Academic Positions

  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Professor, Sustainable Development Law and Policy

Publications

  • "LEEDing Legislation in Michigan," 3 Sustainable Spotlight 4, June 2008
  • "Department of Homeland Security Proposes New Regulations under New Chemical Security Legislation," Chemical Engineering eJournal, January 2007
  • "'Significant Nexus' Likely to determine federally regulated wetlands," 20 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2365, Nov. 6, 2006
  • "Federal Chemical Facility Security Legislation Very Likely," Chemical Engineering eJournal, April 2006
  • "Congress Relaxes Superfund Liability, Creates incentives." 3 Michigan Real Estate Journal 1b (June 3, 2002) (Part 2 of 2) (also published in other state versions of The Real Estate Journal)
  • "Congress Relaxes Superfund Liability Provisions," 3 Michigan Real Estate Journal 1c (April 22, 2002) (Part 1of 2) (also published in other state versions of the Real Estate Journal)
  • "Administrative Limitations of Army Corps of Engineers' Authority over Upland Areas," 18 Michigan Environmental Law Journal 3, Winter/Spring 2000
  • "Private Party's Cleanup Costs under the New MERA," 9 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 5B, June 12, 1995
  • "Sixth Circuit Finds Turner 'Substantial Continuity' Rule of Successor Liability Inapplicable Outside the Context of Products Liability," 22 Michigan Real Property Review 37, Spring 1995
  • "Does MERA's Lien Provision Violate Due Process Guarantees?" 9 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2B, Feb. 13, 1995
  • "Discharge Permit Cannot Conflict with Consent Decree," 9 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 3A, Jan. 20, 1995
  • "Medical Monitoring: Who Pays for Medical Surveillance When People Are Exposed to Toxic Substances," 73 Michigan Bar Journal 1044, Oct. 1994) (with Steven H. Huff, Esq. and Barry Michael Levine, Esq.)
  • "Environmental Programs, Minorities and the Poor," 8 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2B, June 13, 1994
  • "Successor Corporation Liability for Environmental Claims in Michigan and the Sixth Circuit," 21 Michigan Real Property Review 5, Spring 1994
  • "Bankers Beware: CERCLA Lender Liability Rule Nixed," 8 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 698, March 28, 1994
  • "Medical Monitoring Damages Recognized," 8 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 405, Jan. 31, 1994
  • "New State Disclosure Act for Sellers of Residential Property," 13 Ann Arbor Business-to-Business 16, September 1993
  • "Court Validates Contractual Releases for CERCLA Liability," 7 Michigan Lawyers Weekly 663, March 29,1993

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