James Mazzocco Joins Law Firm Babst Calland
December 23, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, December 23, 2015James (JD) Mazzocco recently joined Babst Calland as an associate in the Construction and Litigation groups. Mr. Mazzacco has experience in cases involving the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law and has represented clients in a variety of commercial and construction-related matters including oil and gas lease disputes, construction defect, and breach of contract actions. Mr. Mazzocco also has experience reviewing real estate abstracts, preparing mineral title opinions, advising clients on issues relating to title and property law, and recommending appropriate curative actions. A 2014 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law, he was previously with Burleson LLP.

Grant Hackley Joins Law Firm Babst Calland
November 10, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, November 10, 2015Grant Hackley recently joined Babst Calland as an associate in the Energy & Natural Resources Group. Mr. Hackley’s practice focuses on energy law, counseling clients on a wide array of issues related to ownership of and title to oil and gas, including the preparation of oil and gas title opinions, title examination, litigation and contractual issues. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Amie Courtney Joins Law Firm Babst Calland
August 31, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, August 31, 2015Amie L. Courtney recently joined law Babst Calland as an associate in the Public Sector and Energy & Natural Resources groups. Ms. Courtney’s practice focuses on municipal law and land use law with concentration in general municipal issues, including land use and development, zoning matters, the Right-to-Know Law, real estate, and code enforcement. She also counsels various clients on oil, gas and mineral-related transaction matters as they relate to title issues and opinions. She is a 2014 graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law.

27 Babst Calland Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers® in America List
August 18, 2015

Babst Calland is pleased to announce that 27 lawyers have been named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries. Lawyers on the Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. View the list of attorneys

Donald C. Bluedorn II, Kevin J. Garber and Blaine A. Lucas Named 2016 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” for Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law
August 18, 2015

Pittsburgh – August 18, 2015 – Babst Calland attorneys Donald C. Bluedorn II, Kevin J. Garber, and Blaine A. Lucas were recently selected as 2016 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in the Pittsburgh area.

Donald C. Bluedorn II was selected as 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” for Environmental Law. In addition to the Lawyer of the Year award, Donald Bluedorn was also listed in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Environmental and Water Law.

Kevin J. Garber was selected as 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” for Natural Resources Law. Kevin Garber was also listed in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America for Energy Law, Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental, and Water Law.

Blaine A. Lucas was selected as 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” for Energy Law. Blaine Lucas was also listed in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America in Land Use and Zoning Law, Litigation – Land Use and Zoning, and Municipal Law.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer-review assessments. Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

Nicole Vasquez Schmitt Joins Babst Calland
August 5, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, August 5, 2015Nicole Vasquez Schmitt recently joined law firm Babst Calland as an associate in the Firm’s Litigation Services, Employment & Labor, and Energy & Natural Resources groups. Ms. Schmitt focuses her practice in the areas of general commercial and environmental litigation, as well as representing business entities in employment litigation. A 2008 graduate of the University of Hofstra Law School, she was previously with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.

June 2015

Fennell, Gigliotti and Terranova Joins Babst Calland
June 30, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, June 30, 2015W. Dane Fennell, Clement P. Gigliotti, Jr. and Andrew V. Terranova recently joined law firm Babst Calland as staff attorneys in the Firm’s Business Services Group.

Mr. Fennell’s practice focuses primarily on commercial real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, drafting commercial transaction agreements, and general corporate matters. He is a 2012 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law.

Mr. Gigliotti’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 in ownership, management, and operation of medium-sized companies in the industrial, construction, real estate and waste management industries. Mr. Gigliotti also works daily in negotiating and drafting commercial transaction agreements, including those related to real estate sales and leasing. He is a 2013 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law.

Mr. Terranova’s practice focuses primarily on representing clients in mergers and acquisitions, negotiating and drafting contracts, real estate matters and general corporate matters. He is a 2013 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law.

Mr. Fennell, Mr. Gigliotti and Mr. Terranova also work closely with Solvaire Technologies, L.P., an affiliate of Babst Calland, to achieve reliable and cost-effective results for managing complex due diligence aspects of small and large acquisitions and contract management projects.

Rachel James Rejoins Babst Calland
June 29, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, June 29, 2015Rachel E. James recently rejoined law firm Babst Calland as an associate in the Firm’s Mineral Title Services and Energy & Natural Resources groups. Ms. James counsels various energy, oil, gas and mineral-related clients on transaction matters as they relate to gas title issues and opinions. A 2009 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, she worked at EQT Corporation before returning to Babst Calland.

Shannon DeHarde Joins Babst Calland
June 29, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, June 29, 2015Shannon DeHarde recently joined law firm Babst Calland as an associate in the Firm’s Litigation Services Group. Ms. DeHarde focuses her practice on general civil litigation matters. A 2013 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, she was previously with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Babst Calland’s Expansion Results in Move to New Charleston Location – Law Firm Sees Large Growth Since Opening Regional Office in 2011
June 23, 2015

Charleston, W. Va., June 23, 2015 – The law firm of Babst Calland has moved to a new office location in Charleston’s downtown business district at BB&T Square. Following a period of growth in number of attorneys and clients, the firm has outgrown its previous downtown location at United Center and has moved several blocks to BB&T Square’s office tower located at 300 Summers Street, Suite 1000, Charleston, WV. The firm’s local phone numbers and attorney e-mail addresses remain the same. The main phone number is (681) 205-8888.

“Our team of West Virginia attorneys welcomes the move to BB&T Square in the center of our beautiful downtown district,” said Steven Green, shareholder and energy attorney at Babst Calland. The new space will accommodate our continued growth while enabling our entire staff to better serve current and new clients,” he added.

Babst Calland opened its Charleston office in 2011 initially serving clients in the growing natural gas market in West Virginia and the Appalachian Basin. The office has grown steadily since then, and last year, it added a team of senior West Virginia attorneys in lateral moves from two other local firms. The firm focuses on representing clients through a multi-disciplinary team approach with attorneys in key practice areas, including: energy and natural resources, environmental, employment and labor, business services, title, litigation, land use, and construction law.

Among the largest fully-dedicated teams of energy and environmental attorneys in the Appalachian Basin, Babst Calland has more than 30 attorneys admitted to practice in West Virginia who have been serving the natural gas, coal and other industries for many years. In addition to Charleston and Pittsburgh, the firm also has office locations in State College, Pa., Canton, Ohio and Sewell, N.J.

Babst Calland Report Focuses on Legal and Regulatory Challenges Facing Appalachian Basin Oil and Gas Producers, Midstream Operators
June 4, 2015

Despite Economic and Regulatory Climate, Marcellus and Utica Shales among Most Productive in U.S.

PITTSBURGH, June 4, 2015 – The law firm of Babst Calland today released its fifth annual energy industry report called, The 2015 Babst Calland Report – Appalachian Basin Oil and Gas Industry: Rising to the Challenge; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and Midstream Operators. This annual review of energy and natural resources development activity acknowledges the continuing evolution of this industry in the face of economic, regulatory, legal and local government challenges. To request a copy of the Report, contact info@babstcalland.com .

In this Report, Babst Calland attorneys provide insights into Marcellus and Utica shale issues, challenges and recent developments most relevant to Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. In general, a significant challenge ahead for shale developers in the current price environment is for operators to continue to be productive and active in finding land and drilling wells while effectively delivering the natural resource to market.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, regional and national natural gas production reached an all-time high at the end of 2014. Thus far in 2015, the oil and gas industry’s rig count in the Appalachian Basin and elsewhere is down substantially compared to the previous two years. Although Marcellus shale development is leading the way in the U.S. natural gas production by producing 17 million cubic feet per day of gas, persistently low gas prices are forcing producers to curtail capital expenditures, adjust staffing and wring cost savings from their respective supply chains.

Joseph K. Reinhart, shareholder and co-chair of Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group, said, This Report identifies the many challenges faced by the oil and gas industry, including commodity pricing, efforts to impose or increase taxes, pipeline capacity, vocal opposition, environmental and litigation challenges, impacts of local regulation, and the growing importance of due diligence in asset transactions.

The 44-page Report contains five sections, each addressing key challenges for Appalachian Basin oil and gas producers and midstream operators.

  • Regulatory Shifts and Impacts, such as the current proposed amendments to Chapter 78 rules in Pennsylvania, will impose significant new regulatory burdens and create tremendous shifts in how companies manage their conventional and unconventional assets. Also, the focus on potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing and deep well disposal on seismic events may create sweeping changes to what operators will need to install and monitor these facilities. These and other impacts will increase administrative burdens and may create increased legal burdens and business considerations.
  • Environmental Challenges, resulting from the proposed Chapter 78 amendments, including waste rules, NORM requirements, retention ponds, storage tanks, noise, public resources, stream and wetland buffers, orphaned and abandoned wells, and clean-up standards, among others. Most industries do not confront this many critical environmental issues in one decade, yet the oil and gas industry in the Appalachian Basin is facing these challenges all at once.
  • Litigation Challenges will remain part of the industry’s landscape given the large number of unresolved regulatory and legal issues. Industry will be required to litigate interpretations of statutes and rules by federal and state regulators and environmental groups and continue to face issues related to the validity of leases and royalty payments. Property owner claims of personal injury and property impact from oil and gas development activities will likely continue, fueled by claims of ground water contamination and adverse health effects of shale development.
  • Local Government Regulatory Landscape Varies Significantly in Appalachia with each of the primary states providing its unique system of local regulatory authority in the oil and gas industry. Pennsylvania continues an uncertain evolution in the aftermath of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Robinson Twp. vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Act 13). In addition to the expected increase in local ordinance activity resulting from the Act 13 ruling, anti-industry activists are challenging the validity of zoning ordinances. By contrast, West Virginia and Ohio are far more restrictive in the authority afforded to local government to regulate the natural gas industry.
  • Negotiation of Transactions Requires Comprehensive Due Diligence in Title, Environmental, Land Use, Litigation and Lease Review particularly given the number of companies that are trading assets and/or entering or exiting operations in the Appalachian Basin. Title Due Diligence continues to play a major role in transactions. Cotenancy issues are addressed differently in each state. Pennsylvania acquisitions should include the proposed new Chapter 78 and 78a requirements moving forward, as it is likely that it will take both the oil and gas industry and Pennsylvania’s agencies a significant amount of time to fully implement these changes. Possessing clear title and all necessary environmental permits will be of little value if local ordinances, including zoning and traffic restrictions or construction requirements, do not allow certain activities. Identifying and analyzing a seller’s pending suits and threatened claims and a familiarity with recent case law and pending cases that may adversely affect the oil and gas industry is also a significant aspect of due diligence for oil and gas transactions.

Commenting on this year’s Report, Kathryn Z. Klaber of The Klaber Group said, The Babst Calland Report is a compilation of current facts and challenges with legal and regulatory perspective relevant to the interests of the Appalachian Basin oil and gas industry.

As market conditions evolve for the oil and gas industry in the Appalachia Basin, Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group continues to stay abreast of the many current legal and regulatory challenges facing producers and midstream operators.

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 at 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.

Corporate Energy Attorney Jay Hammond Joins Babst Calland’s Business Services Practices
May 18, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA – May 18, 2015 – The law firm of Babst Calland today announced the addition of corporate attorney Jay Hammond as a shareholder in the Firm’s Energy and Natural Resources and Business Services groups.

Mr. Hammond is the former Vice President and General Counsel of Atlas Energy and the former Supervising Counsel for Chevron North America Exploration and Production’s Appalachian/Michigan business unit. Previously, he also held key legal positions with CNX Gas Corporation and CONSOL Energy. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and is a graduate of Cornell Law School, Oxford University and Harvard College.

“Jay Hammond is a welcome addition to our Business Services Group in its role of supporting transactions, corporate compliance, and general business counsel for our clients, particularly those in the natural gas industry,” said Chester R. Babst III, managing shareholder of Babst Calland. “He also joins our established multi-disciplinary team of energy attorneys after having been involved in Marcellus Shale development throughout the Appalachian Basin during the past decade. He will work collaboratively with our Energy and Natural Resources Group attorneys and clients. We’re pleased that Jay will be a part of our team,” added Babst.

Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Practice Group represents many energy clients on a variety of matters related to energy and environmental law, business transactions, land use, title, litigation, construction, and employment and labor.

January 2015

Babst Calland Adds Six Energy and Natural Resources, Environmental, Employment and Labor, Business Services and Litigation Associates
January 29, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA, January 29, 2015 – Patrick C. Auth, Naeha Dixit, Kate H. Cooper, Molly E. Meacham, Esther S. Mignanelli and Sarah Molinero recently joined the law firm Babst Calland as associates.

Patrick Auth, who joins the Firm’s Title Services and Energy and Natural Resources groups, counsels various energy, oil, gas and mineral-related clients on transaction matters as they relate to gas title issues and opinions. Mr. Auth, a 2010 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law, was previously with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.

Naeha Dixit, who joins the Firm’s Environmental Services Group, assists clients on a wide variety of environmental matters. Ms. Dixit is a 2007 graduate of Emory University School of Law. Prior to joining Babst Calland she served as Associate Regional Counsel, Region 4, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Atlanta, Ga. specializing in hazardous waste enforcement and counseling. She is admitted to practice in Georgia, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.

Kate Cooper, who joins the Firm’s Business Services Group, counsels both for-profit and non-profit entities in connection with mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. She also provides advice to clients on a broad range of general corporate matters, including business planning and structuring, commercial contracts, securities law matters and governance issues. Ms. Cooper, a 2010 graduate of Boston College Law School, was previously with Clark Hill Thorp Reed. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

Molly Meacham joins the Firm’s Litigation Services, Employment & Labor Services, and Energy & Natural Resources groups. She focuses her practice in the areas of general commercial and environmental litigation, as well as to represent business entities in employment disputes. Ms. Meacham has tried jury trials to verdict, represented clients in state, federal and appellate courts, alternative dispute resolution forums, and before government agencies. She also represents clients in matters that include contract disputes, employment law, admiralty and maritime law, toxic tort, environmental and natural gas industry litigation. Ms. Meacham, a 2006 graduate of University of Notre Dame Law School, was previously with Peabody & Arnold LLP in Boston, Mass. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Esther Mignanelli, who joins the Firm’s Litigation Services Group, focuses her practice primarily on general civil litigation. Ms. Mignanelli is a 2014 graduate of Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.

Sarah Molinero, who joins the Firm’s Business Services Group, focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions, business planning and structuring, real estate matters and general corporate matters. Ms. Molinero is a 2014 graduate of Duquesne University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.

Babst Calland Names Antonelli, Dausch, Mosites and Wills Shareholders
January 21, 2015

PITTSBURGH, January 21, 2015 – Babst Calland recently named Stephen A. Antonelli, Mark K. Dausch, Jean M. Mosites and Kevin T. Wills shareholders in the Firm.

Steve Antonelli, a member of the Firm’s Employment & Labor Services, Litigation Services and Energy & Natural Resources groups, represents employers in all phases of labor and employment law, as well as matters of general litigation, including those concerning the validity of oil and gas leases, joint venture agreements and other disputes involving the natural gas industry. Mr. Antonelli earned his J.D. degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 2005.

Mark Dausch, a member of the Firm’s Litigation Services and Energy & Natural Resources groups, focuses his practice in the areas of commercial, products liability, toxic tort and environmental litigation. A sizeable portion of his litigation practice has involved defending clients in the natural resources and mining industries. As lead trial counsel, he has tried bench and jury trials to verdict and has represented clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts, alternative dispute resolution forums and before government agencies. Mr. Dausch earned his J.D. degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 2007.

Jean Mosites, a member of the Firm’s Environmental, Energy & Natural Resources, and Public Sector Services groups, focuses her practice primarily on client counseling on environmental compliance in the energy sector, as well as resolving liabilities under federal and state remediation programs. Ms. Mosites has assisted clients responding to agency requests for information, notices of violation and orders issued under Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, Clean Streams Law, and Solid Waste Management Act, as well as federal statutes including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. She advises clients on regulatory matters encountered in the development of the Marcellus Shale, including water sourcing, handling and disposal, gas migration investigations, and site restoration obligations. She also practices before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board on a variety of matters, including appeals from compliance orders and third-party permit appeals. Ms. Mosites earned her J.D. degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 2007.

Kevin Wills, a member of the Firm’s Business Services and Energy & Natural Resources groups, represents business clients in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; drafting and negotiating a wide variety of contracts, real estate agreements and software licenses; advising clients involved in contract disputes; advising clients on business planning and structuring matters; and representing clients in natural gas and energy, including the acquisition of unconventional natural gas (such as Marcellus Shale) and natural gas pooling and unitization. Mr. Wills earned his J.D. degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 2006.