Angela Kilbert Joins Babst Calland
September 16, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, September 16, 2014 – Angela M. Kilbert recently joined law firm Babst Calland as an associate in the Firm’s Environmental Services Group. Ms. Kilbert assists clients on a wide variety of environmental matters. A 2013 graduate of the George Washington University Law School, she worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to joining Babst Calland Ms. Kilbert was a clerk for the Honorable D. Quarles, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Maryland. She is admitted to the Maryland Bar, the United States District Court of Maryland and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Rich Saxe Rejoins Babst Calland
September 15, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, September 15, 2014 – Richard W. Saxe, Jr. recently rejoined law firm Babst Calland as a shareholder in the Firm’s Construction and Litigation Services groups.

Mr. Saxe concentrates his practice in the areas of construction and commercial litigation and arbitration. His construction experience includes representing contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, sureties, owners and design professionals in all aspects of disputes concerning public and private construction projects. Mr. Saxe regularly represents and advises clients on water and sewer line projects as well as wastewater and water treatment plant facilities. He has handled a wide range of construction disputes and issues including construction payment disputes, payment and performance bond claims, mechanics’ lien claims, delay, acceleration and inefficiency claims, change order disputes, claims for differing site conditions, Pennsylvania’s One Call Act, and claims involving various state prompt payment statutes. A 2001 graduate of Duquesne University school of Law, Mr. Saxe served as vice-president & general counsel for Galway Bay Corporation, a general contractor specializing in the construction and renovation of wastewater and water treatment plants and pump stations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and New Jersey. In this role, he handled all of the company’s legal matters, as well as the managerial, business and day-to-day operations of the company.

Peter Schnore Rejoins Babst Calland
September 12, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA and STATE COLLEGE, PA, September 12, 2014 – Peter H. Schnore recently rejoined law firm Babst Calland as senior counsel in the Firm’s Business Services Group and will counsel the Firm’s clients from its Pittsburgh and State College offices.

Mr. Schnore concentrates his practice in real estate-related matters, including real estate tax-assessment appeals, land use, zoning, quiet title actions, eminent domain proceedings, and negotiating real estate leases and related agreements. One area of particular concentration in his practice is real property tax assessment appeals. Mr. Schnore represents commercial and industrial property owners before county boards of assessment appeals and courts throughout Pennsylvania who are either seeking a real property tax exemption or a reduction in their tax obligations, or defending the assessed value from a challenge brought by a local taxing authority. He also represents landowners and developers who seek governmental approvals needed before proceeding with a planned real estate development project. Mr. Schnore is a member of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation and IPT’s Western Pennsylvania Local Luncheon Committee and serves on the Council of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Real Property Section. A 2001 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he worked at Reed Smith LLP before returning to Babst Calland.

Krista Staley Selected by The Legal Intelligencer as a “2014 Lawyer on the Fast Track”
September 10, 2014

PITTSBURGH , PA – September 10, 2014 – Krista-Ann M. Staley, an attorney at law firm Babst Calland, was selected by The Legal Intelligencer as one of only 36 “2014 Lawyers on the Fast Track” in Pennsylvania.

A 2007 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Ms. Staley’s practice focuses on municipal law, with an emphasis on land use and development issues. She represents boroughs, townships, municipal authorities, zoning hearing boards, individuals and private entities in the Pittsburgh area. In addition, Ms. Staley counsels and represents private landowners and businesses in matters relating to governmental entities, such as analyzing municipal ordinances and applying for and obtaining various land use approvals. She also works with energy industry clients, including drilling and midstream companies, with a particular emphasis on the land use and roadway use issues related to the development of the Marcellus Shale throughout Pennsylvania.

With the help of The Legal Intelligencer’s legal staff, a group of eight evaluation panelists from across the Commonwealth have selected from many nominations these 36 “Lawyers on the Fast Track” who not only excel as lawyers, but also serve as exemplary members of their communities and profession. This recognition is only given to attorneys under the age of 40 who have demonstrated excellence in four categories: development of the law; advocacy and community contributions; service to the bar; and peer and public recognition.

Attorney Kevin K. Douglass Named Board President of Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Assumes Post 35 Years since His Father Founded the Organization
September 3, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, September 3, 2014 – The law firm of Babst Calland is pleased to acknowledge the appointment of Kevin K. Douglass, shareholder and litigation attorney, as president of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF), a national nonprofit educational organization which fosters the study of the laws and regulations related to natural resource development and energy use. The appointment was effective July 1, 2014.

In his capacity as Board President, Douglass will work closely with the foundation’s executive committee and executive director in implementing its three-year strategic plan, as well as assisting with program planning and governance. He is a senior attorney with Babst Calland and has more than 25 years of experience litigating complex commercial matters in a variety of forums, including federal, state and bankruptcy courts. He is admitted to practice in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

What makes this appointment unique for Kevin Douglass is the fact that he is now the board president of the foundation that his father, Attorney Samuel Douglass, founded in 1979 with University of Pittsburgh Law Professor Cy Fox.

Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation’s mission is to foster the study of energy, mineral and natural resources law through quality, cost-effective and timely education, law student scholarships, and a continuing forum for the intellectually honest examination of the law.

Four Veteran West Virginia Attorneys Join Babst Calland’s Charleston Office as Shareholders
August 25, 2014

CHARLESTON, WV and PITTSBURGH, PA – August 25, 2014 – The law firm of Babst Calland today announced the lateral moves of four established West Virginia attorneys who have joined the firm’s office in downtown Charleston.

Veteran attorneys Timothy Miller from Robinson & McEIwee, and Christopher “Kip” Power, Mychal Schulz and Robert Stonestreet from the Charleston office of Dinsmore & Shohl have joined forces with Babst Calland in providing senior-level legal counsel in key practice areas including environmental, litigation and employment. The addition of the new attorneys and staff will double the size of Babst Calland’s Charleston office which opened in 2011.

Commenting about these lateral moves to the Firm, Chester R. Babst III, managing shareholder of Babst Calland, said, “We are very pleased to welcome these fine individuals to our Firm and to our established team in Charleston. They are a natural fit for us as they share our values, experience and philosophy in serving clients, some with whom we already have business relationships. The addition of these well-regarded West Virginia attorneys supports our strategy to expand Babst Calland’s senior-level legal counseling team and capabilities to serve the needs of existing and new clients in the region.”

“As a litigator who focuses on energy-related law, I am pleased to be joining Babst Calland’s well-established and full-service multi-disciplinary team representing the energy industry,” said Attorney Timothy Miller.

“Along with my colleagues Mychal Schulz and Robert Stonestreet, it is an exciting time for us to join Babst Calland’s West Virginia team and become part of a firm that is grounded in environmental law and where the energy business is a significant force,” said Attorney Christopher “Kip” B. Power.

Among the largest fully-dedicated teams of energy and environmental attorneys in the Appalachian Basin, Babst Calland now has 30 attorneys admitted to practice in West Virginia who have been serving the natural gas, coal and other industries for many years.

Michael Reer Joins Babst Calland
August 22, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, August 22, 2014 – Michael K. Reer recently joined law firm Babst Calland as an associate in the Firm’s Energy & Natural Resources and Environmental Services groups.

Mr. Reer’s practice involves counseling clients on a wide variety of federal and state regulatory issues related to Marcellus, Utica and other conventional and unconventional shale gas well developments in the Appalachian Basin. He also works on a variety of regulatory compliance issues related to coal mining. Mr. Reer received his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2013, where he co-taught Environmental Law and Policy at the undergraduate institution. He completed an LL.M. in Energy, Environmental, and Natural Resources Law at the University of Houston in 2014. Mr. Reer is admitted to practice in Texas and was previously with McElroy, Sullivan, Miller, Weber & Olmstead L.L.P in Houston, TX, where he drafted field rule proposals for unconventional oil and gas plays.

Robert M. Palumbi and Dylan B. Spadaccino Join Babst Calland
July 18, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, July 18, 2014 – Robert M. Palumbi and Dylan B. Spadaccino have recently joined law firm Babst Calland as associates in the Firm’s Construction and Litigation Services groups.

Mr. Palumbi has experience in cases involving the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law, the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, and the Pennsylvania Municipal Torts Claim Act. He also represents clients in a variety of commercial and construction related disputes including products liability claims, construction defect, breach of contract actions, municipal law, and litigation involving energy and natural resources. Mr. Palumbi, a 2009 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law, was previously with Picadio Sneath Miller & Norton, P.C. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia.

Mr. Spadaccino concentrates his practice on construction litigation, which includes prosecuting and defending construction payment disputes, including mechanics’ liens, payment/performance bond claims and Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act claims. He also provides counsel to contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and project owners in the negotiation and administration of construction contracts. Prior to becoming a construction lawyer, Mr. Spadaccino owned and operated a commercial demolition company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that specialized in selective interior space demolition services. Mr. Spadaccino, a 2009 graduate of South Texas College of Law, was previously with Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, LLC. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas.

The 2014 Babst Calland Report Focuses on the Appalachian Shale Industry in Transition
June 9, 2014
Challenges Evolving for Producers and Midstream Operators

PITTSBURGH, June 9, 2014 – The law firm of Babst Calland released its fourth annual energy industry report, The 2014 Babst Calland Report – Appalachian Shale Industry in Transition: Evolving Challenges for Producers and Midstream Operators. This annual review of natural gas and energy development activity acknowledges the significant growth of the Appalachian shale industry and offers insights on the issues and legal implications resulting from such growth.

This year’s Report explores major challenges for the industry ranging from political, regulatory and local government influences to property rights, land use issues and workforce safety. As the industry transitions from its startup years to an era of production efficiencies and a promising outlook of manufacturing renaissance, Babst Calland attorneys provide comment in this Report on related Marcellus and Utica shale issues and developments relevant to Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Commenting on this year’s Report, Joseph K. Reinhart, Shareholder and Co-Chair of Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group, said, This Report offers a unique glance at key issues for the industry. In addition to navigating increased regulatory and legislative challenges, the next chapter for the shale gas industry will be shaped by political influences, regulatory and local government developments, property rights challenges and workforce safety.

The Appalachian Basin is playing a leading role in the United States’ production of record amounts of oil, gas and natural gas liquids. New business opportunities are rapidly developing from plentiful and globally competitive, low cost gas and natural gas liquids. This industry dynamic is opening the way for new and expanded derivative manufacturing facilities. While shale development unto itself will sustain for many years, this region’s ability to attract downstream users will ultimately tell the story of increased economic activity overall, added Reinhart.

The 32-page Report reflects the perspectives of Babst Calland’s multi-disciplinary team of energy attorneys. It contains six sections, each covering a specific subject matter considered to be a key challenge for Appalachian Shale producers and midstream operators. This year, Kathryn Z. Klaber, shale industry advisor to Babst Calland and former CEO of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, offers a Foreword perspective and also contributed to the Report’s content.

The Report incorporates commentary for each key issue, including specific implications for shale operators in the primary Appalachian shale states such as:

  • Governments and politics are playing a major role in shale energy. State elections will shape how the industry operates. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, the tax debate is still very much alive. In West Virginia, a gas severance tax has been in effect and has remained unchanged despite attempts to raise it. The industry faces increased budgetary and operational challenges from legislative sessions in all three states. Politically-driven developments continue to impact the prospects for new and existing underground injection wells, ranging from new seismic testing requirements to public objections to pending permit applications.
  • Regulatory issues remain fluid for the Appalachian shale gas industry. There is no shortage of regulation for the burgeoning shale gas industry, particularly given the degree of transparency, public scrutiny and political influence for and against the extractive industries. A large number of regulatory issues remain requiring constant attention to developments and details across a spectrum of subjects including: reporting, permitting, well site construction, impacts to species, and unique standards for water and air quality.
  • Local government regulation of the industry is expanding. The line between state and local control is still being tested in the state of Ohio, while the implications of Post-Robinson Twp. (Act 13) local regulation in Pennsylvania will not be evident until later in 2014.
  • Property rights and land use present more challenges than ever before. Myriad unresolved property rights, royalty disputes and land-related issues are pending in the courts. Producers in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania are facing a continuously evolving environment concerning property rights and land use.
  • Safety and labor remain priorities. The industry’s workforce and supply chain partners are keys to productivity gains and maintaining the all-important license to operate. As the oil and gas industry must protect its workers 24/7, it must remain vigilant on safety compliance and labor matters.
  • Next step in the transition: we are at the threshold of a manufacturing renaissance. The Appalachian Basin is playing a leading role in the United States’ production of record amounts of oil, gas and natural gas liquids. New business opportunities are rapidly developing, and the Appalachian Basin has the potential to evolve from our vastly successful resource extraction activities to reclaim its historic reputation as a manufacturing juggernaut.

To request a copy of the Report, contact info@babstcalland.com.

To stay on top of these developments, periodic update articles, news and regulatory information can be found on babstcalland.com or at the Firm’s Shale Energy Law Blog shaleenergylawblog.com. Subscribe to receive regular updates.

Note: The Babst Calland Report is provided for informational purposes only to our clients and friends, and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Varun Shekhar Joins Babst Calland’s Pittsburgh Office
March 19, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, March 19, 2014 – Varun Shekhar recently joined law firm Babst Calland as associate in the Firm’s Environmental Services Group. Mr. Shekhar’s practice encompasses a variety of federal and state environmental matters, including air quality permitting, hazardous waste and toxic substance management, remediation, and occupational health and safety. He received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2013, while also attending the University of Michigan and Wayne State University law schools. During law school Mr. Shekhar worked with the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in conjunction with Wayne State University’s Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, where he assisted community groups during planning phases of various large-scale construction projects in Detroit.

Babst Calland Names Ackerman, Hall and McGovern Shareholders
January 13, 2014

PITTSBURGH, January 13, 2014 – Babst Calland, recently named Justin D. Ackerman, Christopher J. Hall and Sean M. McGovern shareholders in the firm.

Justin Ackerman, a member of the firm’s Business Services Group, concentrates his practice on representing mid-sized corporations, closely-held companies and family-owned businesses and their owners, providing a broad range of services including general corporate representation, real estate services and transactions, business succession techniques and dispute resolution. Mr. Ackerman also advises clients on aspects of corporate law such as choice and formation of entities, internal governance, mergers and acquisitions, and contract negotiation. His real estate practice involves the purchase and sale of developed and undeveloped commercial property, commercial leases on behalf of landlords and tenants and property tax assessment appeals. Mr. Ackerman earned a J.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in 2005.

Chris Hall, a member of the firm’s Energy & Natural Resources and Title groups, concentrates his practice in the areas of energy, counseling clients on a wide range of oil, gas and mineral matters including oil and gas title opinions, title examination, business transactions and real estate, litigation, and contractual and regulatory issues. Mr. Hall earned his J.D. degree from Vermont Law School in 2004.

Sean McGovern, a member of the firm’s Environmental Services and the Energy & Natural Resources groups, counsels clients on a variety of federal and state regulatory issues related to coal mining, as well as conventional, coal bed methane, Marcellus, Utica and other unconventional shale gas well development, production, midstream activities, storage and transportation. He counsels clients on a wide range of environmental matters, including water withdrawal and disposal, erosion and sediment controls, air and water permitting, and other issues related to the disposal of produced fluids and other wastes generated by these industries. In addition, Mr. McGovern regularly handles industrial wastewater, waste management, and storage tank issues, as well as site reclamation and remediation. He also has experience with environmental transactions, including due diligence activities, and the river basin commissions located in Pennsylvania. Mr. McGovern earned his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill in 2006.

Max Junker Joins Babst Calland’s Pittsburgh Office
January 7, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, January 7, 2014 – Robert Max Junker recently joined law firm Babst Calland as an associate in the Public Sector Services Group. Mr. Junker has served as a municipal and school district solicitor for several years, and he is currently the Solicitor for the Borough of Franklin Park and the Borough of Bell Acres. He counsels and represents the Firm’s municipal clients on general municipal issues including tax assessment appeals, municipal taxation, public bidding, Sunshine Act, the Right-to-Know Law, the State Ethics Act, general land use and zoning matters, code enforcement, as well as Act 111 and Act 195 interest arbitrations and grievance arbitrations. He is currently serving his second term on the Board of Trustees for the Association of Municipal and School Solicitors Section for the Allegheny County Bar Association. Mr. Junker, a 2005 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law, was formerly with the Law Offices of Ira Weiss.

Hantz and Keegan Join Babst Calland’s Pittsburgh Office
January 3, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA, January 3, 2014 – Benjamin F. Hantz and Sean R. Keegan have recently joined law firm Babst Calland as associates.

Benjamin F. Hantz, a 2013 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law, joined the Business Services Group. Mr. Hantz’s practice focuses primarily on representing clients in commercial real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions, and general corporate matters. He has extensive background managing complex due diligence aspects of small and large acquisitions and contract management projects. In addition, Mr. Hantz negotiates and drafts commercial transaction agreements including those related to real estate sales and leasing.

Sean R. Keegan, a 2013 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, joined the Litigation Services Group. Mr. Keegan focuses his practice on general civil litigation.