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Firm News

Tropea McMillan Secures Approximately $6 Million For The Cleanup Of A Contaminated Property In Los Angeles County
Our clients reached a favorable settlement with several parties in a multi-site environmental lawsuit brought pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and other related claims. The successful outcome caps a hard fought battle with multi-billion-dollar litigants and victory against those who pollute the groundwater in California.

The case was handled by Santino Tropea and Brandon Vegter.

Tropea McMillan Obtains Defense Summary Judgment in $30M+ Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against the City of Fresno
On December 27, 2022, the Fresno County Superior Court entered final judgment in favor of the City of Fresno in two consolidated class action lawsuits, Micheli, et al. v. The City of Fresno, Lead Case No. 16CECG02937 and Flannery, et al. v. The City of Fresno, Consolidated Case No. 17CECG01724. The plaintiffs sought over $30 million in damages on behalf of themselves and hundreds of Fresno homeowners, claiming the City of Fresno’s public drinking water supply caused discolored water and corrosion of their residential plumbing systems.

The trial court granted the City of Fresno’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiffs failed to meet their burden to show their alleged injuries are within the zone of protected interests contemplated by the legislature under the California Safe Drinking Water Act, Health & Safety Code § 116270 et seq., and that insufficient evidence was presented to create a triable issue as to breach of a mandatory duty or causation, as required to establish liability under Government Code § 815.6.

The case was handled by Matthew McMillan. The Micheli and Flannery actions were filed by six separate plaintiffs’ law firms.

Brandon Vegter Joins Tropea McMillan
Tropea McMillan is pleased to announce that Brandon Vegter has joined the firm as a Senior Associate. Brandon will work in the firm’s environmental and construction defect practices. Brandon graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics. Mr. Vegter obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law. As a litigation specialist, Brandon understands the nuances associated with trial work, pre-trial preparation, and persuasive advocacy. We’re excited to see Brandon apply his experience and education to our firm.

District Court Dismisses Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Qui Tam Lawsuit Against Tetra Tech Subcontractor
Numerous whistleblower cases were filed by various Relators under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act against Tetra Tech, EC based upon alleged misrepresentation of certain soil samples submitted for radiological testing at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, CA. Certain Relators also filed suit against Tetra Tech subcontractors, including Tropea McMillan’s client, alleging similar claims of fraud.

On June 28, 2022, the District Court dismissed one of those Relators’ claims against Tropea McMillan’s client pursuant to the first-to-file bar. The first-to file bar states that when a person brings a whistleblower action, no person other than the Government may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying the pending action. Multiple Relators filed claims based upon the same alleged fraud—misrepresentation of soil samples. In an effort to preserve their claims and multiply the potential awards amongst themselves, the Relators duplicated each other’s allegations of fraud but each alleged the conduct occurred in different locations of the shipyard. The Court rejected this alleged distinction, stating that the Relators attempt to repeat the same allegations of fraud for different locations within the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard does not give rise to separate whistleblower claims.

The ruling was a victory for our client and confirmed that the courts will not entertain duplicative whistleblower claims where the core allegations are based on the same alleged conduct. The case is being handled by Santino Tropea.