Kevin K. Douglass
Area of Emphasis
Kevin Douglass is a shareholder in the Firm’s Litigation, Energy and Natural Resources, and Emerging Technologies groups. Mr. Douglass has more than 30 years of experience litigating complex commercial matters in a variety of forums including federal, state and bankruptcy courts. His experience includes numerous jury trials, bench trials, preliminary hearings, appeals, mediations, mini-trials and arbitrations. In addition, Mr. Douglass is a certified mediator.
Mr. Douglass often represents natural gas and coal clients in litigation and administrative proceedings involving lease and title disputes, subsidence issues, zoning matters, pipeline construction, supply agreements and challenges to municipal ordinances. He is the editor of the Firm’s Babst Calland Report, a comprehensive annual publication that covers events and issues of interest to the energy industry. Mr. Douglass is a past president and executive committee member of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF) and continues to serve on its Board of Trustees. In 2018, he was the recipient of the EMLF’s John L. McClaugherty Award for extraordinary service to the legal profession and the EMLF.
Mr. Douglass provides client counseling, mediation and litigation services to businesses, business owners, managers, directors and officers concerning their contractual and fiduciary rights and responsibilities, particularly when disagreements arise between them. His work often involves detailed analysis of company governance documents, as well as contracts and agreements relevant to the representation. He has extensive experience advising clients concerning the buyout of an owner, the termination of employment, violations of anti-competition or trade secret provisions, compensation issues and corporate governance matters. His litigation practice frequently involves both derivative and direct business owner claims such as breach of fiduciary duty, mismanagement, “freeze-out,” fraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy, usurpation of corporate opportunities and other alleged improprieties.
Representative Commercial Litigation Matters
- Advantageous settlement after two-week trial defending majority business owners against claims of alleged mismanagement and fraud; buyout of minority owner achieved
- Dismissal of $79 million CERCLA cost recovery action that was subsequently affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals following oral argument
- Successful defense of a majority shareholder in a two-week jury trial involving the buyout of a minority shareholder
- Advantageous settlement after a two-week trial defending business against a $54 million destruction of business claim
- Defense of a billion-dollar entity’s chief financial officer in multiple cases, including class actions
- $3.3 million judgment, plus attorneys’ fees, on behalf of a corporate officer and former business owner following an eight-day trial against his former employer and a successor company
- Punitive damage award following a jury trial involving trade secret violations
- Dismissal of Environmental Hearing Board appeal alleging mine subsidence damage to structure following three-day evidentiary hearing involving testimony of multiple subsidence experts
- Emergency court hearing resulting in successful appointment of a custodian to run deadlocked business leading to successful buyout of 50 percent owner
- Appointment of a corporate custodian after a protracted multi-day hearing exposing fraudulent activities
Mr. Douglass graduated magna cum laude from Mount Union College in 1983 with a B.A. in History. He earned his J.D. at Duquesne University School of Law in 1986 where he was a member of the Duquesne Law Review.
Memberships and Affiliations
Mr. Douglass is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He has also been admitted pro hac vice in numerous state and federal courts.
Mr. Douglass is a member of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and American Bar associations. He has served on Allegheny County’s Judiciary Committee and is a past chair and a current member of the Court Rules Committee. Mr. Douglass also has been appointed to serve on ad hoc committees responsible for extensive changes to the County’s local rules and jury selection system. Among his civic activities, Mr. Douglass supports trade and international investment in the region and is a former board of directors member of GlobalPittsburgh.
Mr. Douglass has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© by BL Rankings in the Natural Resources Law Section since 2013 and was named the Best Lawyers® 2022 Natural Resources Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was selected to the 2012-2016 and 2018-2019 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers lists (Thomson Reuters).
- Ostrowski, Sue (interviewed by author), “Company Theft: How to Prevent Employees from Stealing — and Detect Theft if They Are,” Smart Business, September 2021.
- Author, “Has COVID-19 Escalated Disagreements Between Business Owners?” Babst Calland Perspectives for Business Owners May 4, 2021.
- Gest, Jayne (interviewed by author), “Face it Head On: How to Resolve Conflict Among Business Owners,” Smart Business, August 2019.
- Author, “Work it Out—Conflict Resolution for Business Owners,” The Legal Intelligencer, January 11, 2019.
- Presenter, “The Rise of NGO Litigation in Response to the Trump Presidency,” EMLF Conference, Lexington, Ky., October 2017.
- Presenter and Panel Facilitator, “Resolving Disagreements Between Co-Owners of Business,” Association for Corporate Growth, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 2016.
- Presenter, “Successful Negotiations,” BNY Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pa., May 2016.
- Co-Author, “Extending Oil and Gas Leases to Their Secondary Term,” American Bar Association’s Environmental Litigation Committee Newsletter, Summer 2012.
- Co-Presenter, “To Infinity and Beyond: Extending Your Lease to Its Secondary Term in the Appalachian Basin,” EMLF Annual Institute, Charleston, S.C., June 2012.
- Presenter, “Marcellus Shale Municipal Ordinances in Pennsylvania: Constitutional and Preemption Challenges,” LexisNexis presents Emerging Issues in the Law of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pa., June 2011.
- Co-Presenter, “Developing Case Law for the Marcellus Shale: Building a Moving Car,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Annual Retreat, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pa., April 2011.
- Co-Presenter with the Honorable Lisa Pupo Lenihan, Chief Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, “A Trial in the Real World: How Things Are Done in the Federal Courts in Western Pennsylvania,” Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County and Allegheny County Bar Association, Pittsburgh, Pa., March 2011.
- Co-Presenter, “Can Witnesses and Lawyers Learn From Hollywood?” EMLF Conference, Lexington, Ky., October 2009.
- Presenter, “Successful Negotiations,” EMLF Energy Law Workshops, Fort Myers, Fla., February 2009.
- Presenter, “Work it Out: Conflict Resolution for Business Owners,” Pittsburgh Young Professionals, Pittsburgh, Pa., January 2009.
- Co-Presenter, “Climate Change is Changing Business,” EMLF Mineral Law Conference, Lexington, Ky., October 2008.