Joseph V. Schaeffer

Area of Emphasis

Joseph Schaeffer is a shareholder in the Litigation Group of Babst Calland. He focuses his practice on environmental, energy and complex commercial litigation. He has tried various environmental and commercial cases before environmental hearings boards, courts, and juries. He has also had primary responsibility for multiple appeals and argued several cases in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Mr. Schaeffer has significant experience working with clients on overcoming obstacles that can hinder their commercial development projects. He has served as lead trial counsel in several land use disputes involving zoning ordinances and was lead appellate counsel in a precedent-setting West Virginia Supreme Court decision that established the constitutional limits of municipal zoning. He has counseled clients on other land use disputes involving annexation, deannexation, and state and federal preemption issues. He served as co-trial counsel in successfully obtaining an injunction against a government agency’s attempt to use its eminent domain powers to take an industrial client’s facility. And he has litigated multiple property tax valuation and exemption appeals and worked on two precedent-setting West Virginia Supreme Court decisions affirming the legal structure used by state economic development authorities to offer property tax incentives.

Mr. Schaeffer has also worked with businesses on regulatory, commercial, and tort issues that can affect their businesses. He has served as lead trial counsel for an industrial client in the defense of citizen appeals from environmental enforcement orders, construction stormwater permit registrations, and multisector permit registrations before the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board. He has worked on negotiating stream mitigation credits with the EPA under the Clean Water Act and defended clients against toxic tort claims arising from industrial operations. He has worked on several royalty and quiet title disputes for producers and individuals in the natural gas and extractive industries. And he has assisted businesses in a wide variety of complex litigation matters involving products liability, construction errors and omissions, bid protests, and breach-of-contract.

Mr. Schaeffer has also provided pro bono representation to a national voluntary bar association in amicus curiae filings in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Background

Mr. Schaeffer graduated from West Virginia University summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages (German) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. While at West Virginia University, Mr. Schaeffer interned for the Wester Virginia European Office in Munich, Germany, and studied abroad at the Technical University Dortmund in Dortmund, Germany. His capstone, Vergangeinheitsbewältigung and the Danzig Trilogy, an exploration of post-war Germany’s reckoning through the work of Nobel Prize-winner Günter Grass, received the Honors College Award for Exceptional Inquiries into the Humanities and was selected for publication in the Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review.

Mr. Schaeffer graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law cum laude with his Juris Doctorate. While in law school, he was the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Scholar and a Managing Editor with the Journal of Environmental & Public Health Law. Mr. Schaeffer was also an editor with JURIST, a legal intern with the law school’s Environmental Law Clinic, and the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Evidence.

In his free time, Mr. Schaeffer enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs, hiking, photography, and skiing.

Memberships and Affiliations

Mr. Schaeffer is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. He is also admitted to practice before numerous federal courts, including the Third and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Schaeffer is a member of the Allegheny County and American Bar associations. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the ABA Litigation Section’s Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee. Mr. Schaeffer is also a co-author of the West Virginia chapter in the forthcoming edition of the American Bar Association’s Property Tax Deskbook.

Selected Cases
  • University Park at Evansdale, LLC v. Musick, 238 W. Va. 106, 792 S.E.2d 605 (2016)
  • Musick v. University Park at Evansdale, LLC, 241 W. Va. 194, 820 S.E.2d 901 (2018)
  • City of Morgantown v. Calvary Baptist Church, 243 W. Va. 578, 849 S.E.2d 150 (2020)
Publications/Presentations
  • Author, “Translations 101,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee, American Bar Association, May 2021.
  • Co-Presenter, “Privacy, The Final Frontier: Exploring Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act,” Spring Sections Seminar, Corporate & Commercial Litigation Section, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, May 2021.
  • Author, “The Rules of Litigation Are Not a Buffet,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, February 2021.
  • Author, “Context Matters: How Relevance Affects a Party’s Duty to Perform a Reasonable Inquiry,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, January 2021.
  • Author, “A Case for Bending the Rules: When Flexibility is Smart Advocacy,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, December 2020.
  • Author, “10 Factors Justifying Cost-Shifting under Rule 26(c),” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, October 2020.
  • Author, “Saving Time and Money by Designating the Form of Production,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, February 2020.
  • Author, “Don’t Forget Your Local Rules!,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, January 2020.
  • Author, “Sanctioning Abuse: Bad Attorney Behavior Risks Client Sanctions,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, December 2019.
  • Author, “More Than a Potted Plant: Five Tips for Nonparty Deponents Counsel,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, November 2019.
  • Author, “Develop the Theory Up  Front: Proposed Amendment Fails to Defeat Summary Judgment,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, August 2019.
  • Author, “Another Court Approaches Discovery on Discovery with Skepticism,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, April 2019.
  • Author, “Proportionality Has Some Bite,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, March 2019.
  • Author, “Claims for Lost Profits Can Lead to Claims for Lost Privilege over Tax Returns,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, February 2019.
  • Author, “When Preparing Your Client’s Case, Trust but Verify Their Representations,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, December 2018.
  • Author, “The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Do Not Recognize an Objection for Discovery Your Client Does Not Like,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, October 2018.
  • Author, “Service of Process in 280 Characters or Less,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, September 2018.
  • Author, “Who’s Paying the Plaintiffs Bills? You Might Not Be Entitled to Discover the Answer,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, June 2018.
  • Author, “When Is an Expert ‘Independent’ for Purposes of a Protective Order?,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, May 2018.
  • Author, “The Apex Deposition: Practice Tips and Standards,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, April 2018.
  • Author, “Spoliation: Dismissal Might Not End Duty to Preserve Evidence,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee’s Practice Points, American Bar Association, March 2018.
  • Author, “Medical Monitoring in West  Virginia and the Surrounding States,” Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia, 2017.
  • Author, “Discovering Off-the-Record Conversations Between a Deponent and His or Her Counsel,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee, American Bar Association, December 2017.
  • Speaker, “2015 Shale Gas Law: Update on the Law,” Update on the Law 2015, October 2015.
  • Speaker, “Update on Shale Gas Law,” Solo & Small Firm  Conference, October 2014.
  • Speaker, “Stormwater Enforcement: Current Issues in Stormwater Regulation in West Virginia,” Lorman Education Services, South Charleston, W.Va., October 2014.
  • Speaker, “2014 Shale Gas Law: Update on the Law,” Shale Gas Law – West Virginia Continuing Legal Education, Morgantown, W.Va., September 2014.
  • Co-Author, “Energy and the Economy: How Local Regulation May Impede Business Development,” WV Executive Magazine, Spring 2014.
  • Panelist, “Drilling Down: Local Government and Natural Gas Development,” Synergy 2013, Bridgeport, W.Va., October 2013.
  • Author, “Lease Contests in the West Virginia Shale Plays,” ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Litigation Committee Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 3, August 2013.
  • Author, “Municipal ‘Fracking’ Bans and Preemption in Appalachia,” JURIST, July 2011.
  • Author, “Pittsburgh: Politics Impede Marcellus Shale Development,” JURIST, January 2011.
  • Author, “Appalachia: Coal Law & Property Rights,” JURIST, August 2010.