About Our Team
We have been serving the North Bay for decades and have the track record to prove it. We are advocates for justice and we never stop working for you.
Noreen Evans, Certified Appellate Specialist
Noreen M. Evans, certified by the California State Bar as a specialist in civil appeals has been practicing law in Sonoma County since 1982. Evans, who works of Counsel for Fiumara & Evans, LLC, was one of the leading litigators in successful lawsuits brought by Sonoma County residents against PG & E, as a result of the 2017 Sonoma County wildires.
A former Member of both the California State Assembly and the State Senate for 10 years, Evans served as the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was responsible for numerous pieces of legislation relating to the administration of justice.
Evans represented her neighbors in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Mendocino, Lake & Humboldt counties and was instrumental in the passage of the first substantial increase in the statute of limitations which increased the age at which victims of sexual abuse could bring legal action for compensation. Her ’ years of hard work on behalf of the people of the North Bay, paved the way for this new Childhood Sexual Abuse Victims Rights Law, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and has extended the period when a lawsuit can be filed until 2023.
While a member of the State Assembly, Evans was one
of the earliest sponsors of legislation providing state-funding for Child Advocacy Centers in California. Those Child Advocacy Centers combined the services of Law Enforcement professionals, medical and health care workers, and social services teams to sensitively assist the victims of child abuse.
Noreen received her BA degree in Government (with honors) in 1978 from California State University, Sacramento. She graduated from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1981.
In her third year at McGeorge, she wrote for and edited the first-ever edition of the Silversheets, a review of Nevada law. From 1980-81, Noreen clerked for Justice Edwin Regan of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.
After graduation from law school, Noreen studied International Business Law at the University of Salzburg, Austria, She completed an international law internship in Dublin, Ireland with A & L Goodbody, Solicitors.
In 1982, Noreen was hired as an associate at Spridgen,
Barrett, Achor, Luckhardt, Anderson, James & Ziegler, at that time the oldest and largest law firm north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Noreen was the firm’s first full-time female litigation attorney, and later became a litigation associate with Gray, O’Brien, Watters & Davis, now O’Brien Watters & Davis LLP, where she was made an equity partner in 1987.
A Santa Rosa attorney for her entire career, Noreen also serves Of Counsel with Watts Guerra, LLP, where she represents survivors of the 2017 North Bay wildfires in litigation against PG&E. Noreen is also Of Counsel with O’Brien Watters & Davis, LLP, providing services in civil appeals and writs with an emphasis on environmental law.
In 1993, Noreen was appointed to the Santa Rosa Planning Commission, where she worked extensively with land use planning issues and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
In 1996, Noreen was elected to the Santa Rosa City Council, She served two terms on the City Council.
In 2004, Noreen was elected to represent the 7th Assembly District in the California State Assembly.
In 2010, Noreen was elected to the State Senate to represent the 2nd Senate District and chaired the Joint
Legislative Committee on California’s Foreclosure Crisis in 2012, which resulted in the passage of The Homeowners Bill of Rights (AB 278/SB 900). The Homeowners Bill of Rights implements the historic 49-State Attorneys General settlement with five of the national’s largest banks and was the first of its kind in the nation.
From 2010-2014, Noreen chaired the Senate Committee on the Judiciary serving four years on the Judicial Council, the governing body for all State courts.
In 2011, Noreen was honored as the first woman to receive the Judicial Council’s Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award for her decades of work ensuring access to justice. She was also honored by McGeorge School of Law as its first-ever Distinguished Alumna in 2015. She was recognized by the California Judges Association as Legislator of the Year in 2010 and by Consumer Attorneys of California as Legislator of the Year in 2013.
Noreen has decades of experience in civil litigation and appeals and has handled a wide range of complex cases involving real estate, partition, tax law, environmental law (CEQA), Public Resources Code issues, land use permit application and compliance, family law and much more. She is certified by the State Bar as a specialist in civil appeals.
Michael A. Fiumara, Attorney at Law
There’s one name that comes to mind in the North Bay when survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse are looking for the most tenacious—and successful—advocate to achieve justice for them: Michael A. Fiumara.
CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE CASES:
Fiumara, founding partner of the Santa Rosa law-firm of Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has practiced law in the North Bay for the past three decades—won the pioneering Childhood Sexual Abuse settlement against the Diocese of Santa Rosa in 2007, securing a settlement of over $5 million for 9 plaintiffs, all of whom were Latino children and young adults. That settlement—an unprecedented breakthrough in the area of Childhood Sexual Abuse cases—came under the older, more restrictive laws, changed only this year by Governor Gavin Newsom.
The new law, AB 218, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, NOW allows survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse a three year “window of justice” until 2023, to file claims against Churches, State Institutions, School Districts, Hospitals, Camps, or any other private or public entities that may have looked the other way or even actively concealed Childhood Sexual Abuse committed by one of its employees or agents.
Fiumara’s expertise and advocacy in the area of Childhood Sexual Abuse, is the reason he has been joined in his fight to seek justice for survivors by a leading North Bay Child Advocacy champion, former State Senator, Noreen M. Evans (see related bio). Read more about Fiumara's work fighting for justice.
Fiumara, A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University, also holds a Law Degree from the same University, as well as a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Fiumara has been primarily practicing law in Sonoma and Marin counties since 1992. Inducted into the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers of America, Fiumara has an unmatched knowledge of the Sonoma and Marin County court systems including the Juvenile Courts.
In addition to his experience in successfully representing victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Fiumara has gained an expertise over the last 30 years in California Education law…. Successfully defending students in hundreds of expulsion and suspension cases against California School Districts. Every case Mr. Fiumara has appealed to the respective County Boards of Education, he has won. His in-depth knowledge of the California Education Code and School District liability make Fiumara an excellent advocate for victims of overzealous disciplinary action, or Childhood Sexual Abuse perpetrated by school district employees.
EDUCATION LAW AND STUDENT ADVOCACY:
Fiumara has had the unique experience of having been employed by the Santa Rosa City School District as an outreach leader and liaison for the students, particularly Latino and minority students since Mr. Fiumara speaks Spanish. Consequently, Mr. Fiumara has represented dozens of students against “zero tolerance” School District policies for infractions and violations relating to the Education Code.
Fiumara has represented dozens of students in disciplinary hearings before administrative panels and in school. A few of his cases have now reached the Appellate Courts. Fiumara’s strong advocacy on behalf of his clients has been covered by the Pacific Sun, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat and The San Francisco Daily Journal, as well as by many local and national television and radio stations throughout the Bay Area.
Fiumara has challenged expulsion proceedings which violate students’ constitutional and due process rights and has worked collaboratively with other counsel around the State to expunge adverse student records.
Mr. Fiumara has appeared before many local and Bay Area School Boards representing students in expulsion hearings and at their disciplinary hearings. He has been successful at working out arrangements to avoid the harsh effects of school expulsion. Often, the student’s cumulative school file and school records are incorrect or include information that could be potentially harmful. Fiumara has successfully used the Education Code to remove erroneous records and other harmful information from the student’s cumulative CUM file and their disciplinary files.
Fiumara recently won a sizeable Federal Court case settlement for a local biracial male high school student in Sonoma County who was pervasively bullied and abused by high school peers while the school administrators did not nothing to prevent and later stop the abuse from reoccurring. Fiumara collaborated with the San Francisco based Office of Civil Rights (OCR) who wrote a very favorable complaint and finding.
Fiumara has joined forces with former State Senator Noreen Evans and an East Bay powerhouse law firm to sue two school districts for illegally expelling a student denying him any due process until the School Board overturned their decision. The other case involves a 13-year-old girl special needs pupil who was savagely attacked, beaten and injured by a peer in a classroom while the classroom teacher did nothing to stop the abuse. The schoolteacher was later fired along with the school's principal, but the administrators up the chain did nothing to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place despite repeated written notice by the parent.
AREAS OF LEGAL PRACTICE:
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Mr. Fiumara completed his schooling in rural Sussex County, NJ where there were more cows than people. Fiumara has practiced law primarily in the areas of Criminal defense, serious plaintiff's personal injury, land use and zoning, education Law and general Civil Litigation. In addition, Fiumara is recognized as a specialist in Childhood Sexual Abuse and education law especially school expulsion cases for the past 28 years since 1992 throughout the entire North Bay.
Fiumara works collaboratively with local courts, the prosecution, probation and program providers to tailor alternatives to jail and/or prison. This saves the taxpayer millions of dollars since alternatives to jail lower recidivism and are more cost effective.
For those defendants the prosecution thinks that they may not be able to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Fiumara’s keen negotiation skills and his assertive demeanor have been instrumental in obtaining favorable sentences. However, if trial is necessary, Fiumara's Team of experienced litigators dedicate all necessary resources needed to win their clients' acquittal in a court of law.
Fiumara has a strong track record of reducing an accused person’s fines and reducing charges from felonies to misdemeanors, and Fiumara and his team of dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorneys work diligently to set aside and expunge felonies and misdemeanors so that defendants can get a new start on life.
These are just some of the types of criminal defense cases Mr. Fiumara and his Team of experienced and dedicated defense attorneys handle:
· All serious felonies
· All misdemeanor cases
· All juvenile criminal matters
· Domestic violence and child endangerment cases
· Drug possession/sale/cultivation/distribution of narcotics and sale to minors
· Marijuana sale and distribution
· Assault/battery and all violence-based crimes
· Theft/ shoplifting/ all property-based crimes
· All DUI Cases including impaired driving
· Embezzlement/ Forgery
· Robbery and all property theft related cases
· Residential and commercial burglary cases
· Trespass and vandalism crimes
· Prostitution and solicitation of prostitutes
· Furnishing Alcohol to minors’ cases
· Resisting arrest and disturbing the peace
· Repeat offenders along with enhancements
· Driving with a suspended license
· All DMV hearings
· Probation violation hearings
Mr. Fiumara has been practicing personal injury law as long as he has practiced criminal defense. However, prior to moving to Sonoma County, Fiumara had the distinction of working with a well-respected San Francisco boutique insurance defense law firm in the financial district, where he gained valuable insight into how the insurance industry values and defends claims.
With this experience, Fiumara has been highly effective at settling personal injury claims often without the need to litigate, thus saving the aggrieved and injured plaintiff time and expense. However, when litigation is necessary to obtain a fair monetary award, Fiumara and his team of investigators and experienced litigation Team go all out on behalf of their clients, having won settlements as high as $10 million.
The types of personal injury cases that Mr. Fiumara and his team of litigators have a great deal of experience handling and winning include:
· All automobile and truck accidents and collisions
· Motorcycle accidents
· Bicycle accidents
· Passenger and crosswalk accidents
· Bus/train/public transit accidents
· Pedestrian injuries
· Animal inflicted injuries/dog bites
· Slip, trip, and fall injuries
· Work related injuries
· Wrongful death
· Industrial accidents
· Explosion/burn injuries
Fiumara has the unique distinction in Sonoma County of not only possessing a Law Degree, but earning a Master’s Degree in City Planning from one of the most highly regarded Ivy League Schools in the country, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Their multi-discipline City Planning Department is considered to be one of the top 3 in the United States.
Before beginning his legal career, Fiumara had more than 15 years of land use, zoning and government work experience, including working for New York City's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Mayor Koch one of NYC's most colorful mayors.
Mr. Fiumara also gained insightful and valuable land use experience when he served as a tremendously active planning board member in the rapidly growing Philadelphia suburb of Voorhees, New Jersey.
A recognized authority on Land Use and Zoning cases, Fiumara has helped resolve complex cases in Santa Rosa and in Sonoma County, including:
· Violation of Sonoma County or Santa Rosa building and/or zoning codes
· Illegal dwelling unit issues/red tag concerns
· Construction without permits/unlawful construction
· Illegal septic systems
· Structures illegally converted to a second unit
· Nuisance abatement
· Use permits/modifications/variances
· Business license issues
· Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) hearings (all administrative hearings)
· Legalization of unlawful construction
· Eminent domain and easement cases
· Water & sewer connections/ City utilities
Awards, Professional Affiliations, Organizations, Memberships & Recognitions –partial listing:
Mr. Fiumara is a member of the California State Bar, Sonoma County Bar Association and is also a member of the Criminal Defense section of the Sonoma County Bar Association, Rutgers Alumni Association, Penn Alumni, University of Pennsylvania
-Since 2015—American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys, Award– “10 Best 2015” 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 for “Client Satisfaction,” recognizing excellence;
-2014, 2015 & 2019–Nominated and awarded AVVO’s Clients’ Choice Award;
-From 2014–to the Present, Nominated and Awarded Top 100 Trial Attorneys, by the National Trial Lawyers Association;
-Since 2015- has Achieved Avvo 10.0 “Superb” Rating
-Member, National Association of Criminal Defense.
Lawyer Membership and Affiliations:
-Member of the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA);
-Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association;
-Member of NORML,
-Former Vice President of the Sonoma County chapter of the Consumer Attorneys of California; now a member
-Recipient of the volunteer and merit Award from the Sonoma County Lawyer Referral Service;
-Law Firm selected by the California Teachers Association (CTA). GLS trained attorney for over a decade;
-Teamster Attorney for DUI and misdemeanor cases representing UPS employees and Truck Drivers;
-Sponsor and contributor to the Sonoma County Law Library Committee;
-Active member and sponsor of special events for the Sonoma County Bar Association;
-Active member, contributor and Scholarship co-chair of the Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
-Mr. Fiumara served for over a decade as President and Board Member on the Santa Rosa Democratic Club, fundraising and served as an Alternate on the Sonoma County Central Committee.
-Sonoma County Ombudsman Program, Former Board Member
-Santa Rosa Downtown Business Association, Former Member.
Pro Bono Activities and Volunteer Work:
· Former Board Member, Friends Outside an Organization that helps inmates and their Families
· Contributor/ Donor of $15,000 to the Roseland University Prep new school and volunteer on Portfolio Day and advisory board
· Former Advisory Board Member, The Friends of the Sonoma County Library
· Member, Volunteer, Sonoma County Council on Aging and a Panelist on their Lawyer Referral Service
· Former Advisory Board Member, Fountaingrove Lodge, first LGBTQ retirement residential facility in the country
· Former Advisory Board and Member, Sonoma County Adult Literacy and financial contributor
· Former President, and Board Member, Santa Rosa Democratic Club. Helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for political candidates
Jerrica Perez, J.D., Bilingual Paralegal
At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC, we believe that clear, comprehensive and culturally-sensitive communication is at the key to excellent representation. Our Bilingual Services are second to none, and the addition of Jerrica to our team has made all of our professional services even stronger.
Jerrica is a former Sonoma County Correctional Counselor for 10 years and joined Fiumara & Milligan after working with the national Mass Tort law firm of Mauro, Archer & Associates on the 2017 and 2018 Fire Claims for Napa, Mendocino, Butte, and Sonoma County residents. Jerrica, who also has legal experience working in Family Law, holds a Master’s Degree in Legal Studies and a Juris Doctorate from the Empire College School of Law, where she graduated in 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications & Criminology from the University of La Verne.
Jerrica, who has a life-long love for the law, is driven by a passion to fight injustice wherever she finds it, and is truly an advocate for justice in the best tradition of the Fiumara & Milligan Law firm.
Cynthia Reyna-Pena, Bilingual Office Assistant
Whether you speak Spanish or English, Cynthia is happy to answer your questions when you call or walk into our Santa Rosa office at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC. A former Information Technology (IT) Specialist for the US Army Reserve since 2016, Cynthia is currently working on her Associates Degree in Anthropology at Santa Rosa Junior College, one of the finest Junior Colleges in the Country.
Cynthia has taken her passion for public service and applied it to advancing your quest for justice with the talented attorneys and staff of Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC. Cynthia will not only arrange an appointment with one of our attorneys, she will regularly follow-up with you on your case. A compassionate, caring communicator who beautifully reflects our firm's core belief that excellent communication is the key to excellent representation, Cynthia’s passion for advocacy and justice comes through in her hard work on behalf of each of our clients.
Jessica Guzman, Bilingual Legal Assistant
When you walk through the bright, welcoming doors of Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC’s Santa Rosa office, the first staff person to greet you will most likely be Jessica. With a strong background in the Bay Area Hospitality Industry and expertise in PBX Operations, Jessica is also fluent in Spanish & English, and provides outstanding customer service to every new client she meets. She also interacts with many of the governmental agencies that can impact our clients case, like the DMV and District Attorney.
The single mother of three children, Jessica intuitively understands the challenges of working hard and supporting a family in the North Bay, and brings a great deal of compassion and dedication to our clients, many of whom are fearful of dealing with a Criminal Justice System that can be intimidating without the proper legal assistance. Jessica combines a deep humanity with her passion to help others live a better life, and is a strong asset to Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC.
Gregory “Shafiq” Spanos, Paralegal
“Shafiq” Spanos brings to Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC, a depth of paralegal experience unmatched in any other law firm in the North Bay. Shafiq received his Bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Ivy League school, Brown University in Rhode Island. A graduate of the outstanding Sonoma State University Paralegal Program with a 3.96 GPA, Shafiq chairs the Advisory Committee of the Paralegal Program at Santa Rosa Junior College, as well as the Paralegal and Legal Support Section of the Sonoma County Bar Association.
An experienced litigation, personal injury and medical malpractice paralegal with several major law firms as well as the City of Santa Rosa, Shafiq excels in legal writing. He further sharpened his communications skills and dedication to the local community through his work at KRCB, the Public TV & Radio Station in Rohnert Park.
Juan Roman, Community Liaison & Activist
Juan Roman, earned his bachelor’s degree with Distinction in Ethics Studies from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California.
For over twenty-five years, Juan, a resident of Sonoma County, has been a leader and an active participant in bilingual cultural exchange and advocacy pursuits:
For nine years Juan was a programmer for KBBF Radio, the oldest bilingual continually broadcast radio station in the United States.
Juan was the founding member of Sonoma Lowrider Council.
Juan has been a liaison and mobilizer of multicultural communities locally and statewide on social, political, legal and economic issues.
Consultant to a large mass tort litigation team assisting Spanish speaking survivors of the Tubbs, Nuns and Atlas wildfires in 2017 to get just compensation.
Engaging and nonjudgmental, Juan is able to reach across economic, social and racial barriers to successfully engage and bridge coalitions of under-represented people so that they may receive the legal services that they deserve.
Juan’s multicultural advocacy, knowledge and commitment to the community makes him a tremendously important asset to the legal work that Fiumara & Milligan Law performs for the greater community at large.
We believe all survivors of sexual abuse have a right to get justice against those that harmed them. Please contact us.
Our vision is to be most compassionate, highly competent and fearless advocates for justice for individuals who cannot advocate for themselves. We believe in bringing all of our skills, our highest professional standards, and our deepest commitment to justice and top quality legal representation to the most vulnerable members of our community, especially our children.