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Michele T. Tantalla

Of Counsel


Michele Tantalla is a skilled environmental attorney focused on a wide variety of environmental litigation, enforcement, regulatory, permitting and compliance matters. She advises on complex issues involving hazardous waste, discharge prevention, site remediation, federal and state cost recovery and contribution claims, liability for co-mingled plumes of contamination, and natural resource damages. She also counsels industrial clients on regulatory matters and handles the environmental aspects of real estate and other commercial transactions.

Using her extensive knowledge of state and federal regulations, Michele assists clients with investigation and remediation activities and complying with state and federal environmental laws and regulations. She also works with state and federal regulators on projects requiring environmental permitting and represents parties challenging adverse rulings by regulators.

As an active litigator in state and federal courts, Michele represents clients in diverse matters, including complex environmental litigation involving various environmental statutes, such as CERCLA, RCRA and New Jersey Spill Act, as well as environmental insurance coverage, commercial disputes and mass litigation. 


Representative Experience

  • Representation of a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) in ongoing CERCLA and NRD matters relating to the Passaic River and Newark Bay Complex.
  • Representation of the contract purchaser of property in successfully petitioning NJDEP to modify the coastal wetlands designation of portions of a property in Long Beach Township, New Jersey that was impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
  • Representation of owners of contaminated properties pursuing state and federal cost recovery and contribution claims against prior owners and operators.
  • Representation of and counsel to chemical industry client on compliance with state and federal environmental statutes and regulations.
  • Representation of industry clients in challenging penalty assessments imposed by state agencies involving diverse topics, including site remediation, discharge prevention planning and incidents with alleged environmental impacts.
  • Representation of PRP in Passaic River Spill Act litigation regarding cleanup of the Lower Passaic River and Newark Bay Complex involving over 300 private and public parties.
  • Representation of parties impacted by adverse environmental conditions at a property, including investigation and remediation of CERCLA/Superfund and sites in various states.
  • Representation of various developers in purchase and sale of industrial properties with respect to environmental concerns, including drafting environmental contract provisions, conducting environmental due diligence, and counseling on ISRA compliance.
  • Representation of an environmental consulting firm in multi-party environmental litigation arising from decommissioning of automobile assembly plant.
  • Representation of an environmental engineering consulting firm in CERCLA cost recovery litigation brought by the United States involving a CERCLA site.
  • Representation of parties challenging adverse permitting rulings by NJDEP.
  • Representation of various potentially responsible parties at CERCLA/Superfund sites.
  • Representation of a national homebuilder in a suit by a homeowner alleging fraud.
  • Representation of a potentially responsible party in NJDEP hazardous waste enforcement action pursuant to RCRA arising from a garbage truck fire and emergency response.
  • Representation of a major petroleum company in defense of environmental contamination and toxic tort claims, including personal injury, medical monitoring, property damage and remediation claims.
  • Representation of a pharmaceutical manufacturer in PPA product liability class actions and 100 plus individual cases.


Professional and Community Affiliations

  • New Jersey State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
  • New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
  • Moderator, “The Economic Advantages of Green Buildings," 3rd Annual Green Buildings Summit 2011 (June 2011)
  • Moderator, “Government Legislation for Eco-Friendly Building Construction," 2nd Annual Green Buildings Summit 2010 (June 2010)
  • Certified Mediator, State of New Jersey (2000)

News & Insights


  • Honorable Eugene D. Serpentelli, Assignment Judge, Ocean County, Superior Court of New Jersey


Vermont Law School (J.D.; Master of Studies in Environmental Law, magna cum laude, 2000; Managing editor, Vermont Law Review)

Seton Hall University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1996)


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