Business Litigation

Steptoe & Johnson's Business Litigation Practice Group represents clients before federal, state and local courts and boards in civil, criminal, and administrative matters. Group members possess extensive experience as seasoned litigators who can handle commercial and energy related litigation in "bet the company" cases.

Commercial Litigation

  • Contract disputes
  • Antitrust and restraint of trade issues
  • Title and mineral severance matters
  • Mineral ownership issues
  • Subsidence litigation
  • Condemnation
  • Land use
  • Construction and bonding questions
  • Appellate practice at all levels in state and federal courts
  • Arbitration
  • Insurance coverage
  • Copyright actions
Environmental Litigation

  • Penalty and enforcement actions; site remediation and cost recovery; indemnity and transactional issues
  • West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and U. S. Environmental Protection Agency negotiations
  • Underground storage tank remediation and closure claims
  • Superfund cost recovery and allocations
  • RCRA and hazardous and solid waste disposal enforcement
  • Cost recovery actions
  • Permit appeals Energy Litigation
  • Coal, oil and gas, water, hard rock, timber, and other natural resource matters including administrative penalty issues
  • Audit and compliance issues
  • Corporate director and officer liability
  • FERC regulatory
  • PSC regulatory

Know How

Alert: Avoiding CCPA Pitfalls:
The Steptoe & Johnson Business Litigation Group has written a ten-point guide to help creditors avoid common pitfalls associated with the CCPA’s debt collection provisions.
Alert: West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act Update
The West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA) can be a minefield for lenders. A recent decision by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Quicken Loans, Inc. v. Brown, highlights the expensive nature of running afoul of the WVCCPA when making a loan.In Quicken Loans, Quicken refinanced a house in East Wheeling, West Virginia, and consolidated consumer debt of Lourie Brown. The loan amount ultimately was $144,800, but Quicken’s initial loan offer was for $112,850. Quicken increased the loan amount after obtaining an appraisal of $181,700. At trial, however, Ms. Brown established that the actual value of the house was only $46,000. The trial court awarded Ms. Brown extensive damages on multiple claims, and Quicken appealed.
Webinar: October 2012 - Webcast Presentation - Navigating the Uncharted Waters of the New Business Court Division
To watch and listen to a recording of this webcast, CLICK HERE.October 2012 - Energy Keynote Webcast Navigating the Uncharted Waters of the New Business Court DivisionAs of October 10, 2012, West Virginia’s circuit courts have a new Business Court Division to specifically handle disputes between businesses. The procedures for the Business Court Division are entirely new, and some aspects remain to be developed. This program is essential for those doing business or planning to do business in West Virginia.  To make sure you and your business is ready for the change, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC will hold an in-depth presentation via webcast on “Navigating the Uncharted Waters of the New Business Court Division.”
Webinar: July 2012 - Webcast Slides - Mineral Title Litigation & Litigation Trends in the Utica and Marcellus Shales
Mineral Title Litigation & Litigation Trends in the Utica and Marcellus ShalesThe ongoing development of the Utica and Marcellus shales has resulted in increased mineral title litigation and varying litigation trends throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  In this webcast, Kevin West and Jim Wright will discuss these issues and how they affect energy developers doing business in the region.Discussion includes:Curing title issuesHow WV, OH, and PA are differentCurrent litigation trends in the Utica and MarcellusWays to protect yourself
Alert: New Business Court Division Aims to Better Resolve Business Disputes
West Virginia has a new circuit court division for resolving business disputes. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia established a Business Court Division in West Virginia's circuit courts to more efficiently and effectively manage business litigation. The newly created Court will be based in Martinsburg, WV.

Representative Experience

  • Represented various national lenders in actions against West Virginia Attorney General and West Virginia Division of Banking regarding compliance issues with state law
  • Represented lenders in approximately 100 lawsuits relating to allegations of debt collection violations, including trial in federal court where key issues were addressed by federal judge
  • Obtained writ of coram nobis to secure expungement of records in client's family member's immigration proceeding
  • Defended a manufacturer in a retaliatory discharge claim regarding how the manufacturer was pricing its product
  • Represented a chemical manufacturer in a case brought by excluded piping contractor against area chemical plants involving numerous Sherman Act and West Virginia antitrust claims
  • Represented chemical company in defense of antitrust case in West Virginia federal court
  • Brings nationwide experience in creditor workouts representing creditors ranging in size from local banks and lending institutions to regional and national corporations and has represented creditors in West Virginia, Texas, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky
  • Obtained a thorough understanding of secured transactions involving both real and personal property through 28 years of legal experience in commercial transactions, which includes working as a title agent with four national title agencies
  • Business planning for a wide variety of tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations, including complex structures such as mergers and joint ventures between for-profit and nonprofit organizations
  • Acquired an acute knowledge of all aspects of creditors' rights in bankruptcy by serving as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for the past 20 years
  • Represented creditors by guiding them through the intricacies of bankruptcy, foreclosure, and collection methods to maximize recovery of secured and unsecured debt
  • Represented individuals and businesses in mediation and alternative dispute resolutions
  • Prosecuted and defended over 25 bench trials
  • Lead counsel defending national bank in jury trial of aiding and abetting fraud claim
  • Represented natural gas transmission and storage company in numerous matters pertaining to property protection, gas storage and commercial issues
  • Experienced in foreclosure and collection
  • Represented taxpayers including individuals and nonprofit organizations before the Internal Revenue Service and the West Virginia State Tax Department
  • Lead counsel for multiple, banks, national creditors, and debt servicers in suits brought under the West Virginia Consumer Credit & Protection Act
  • Represented natural gas storage company in matter involving lease and gas storage addendum
  • Defended $100 million fraud and breach of contract action, including a three week jury trial, against corporations and individual employees
  • Represented fiber optic network company in resolution of commercial litigation with major customer
  • Represented group of clients in citizen's suit brought pursuant to The Clean Water Act
  • West Virginia counsel for national jewelry retailer in infringement actions
  • Represented shareholders, officers and directors in breach of fiduciary duty, usurpation of corporate opportunity and fraud claims
  • Defended executors and trustees against claims of breach of fiduciary duties
  • Represented major brokerage house in major consumer fraud case
  • Lead counsel for video lottery operator in dispute with the West Virginia Lottery Commission over award of 10-year permits in a sealed-bid auction
  • Defended multi-million dollar arbitration claims in coal dispute for contract breach and tortious interference
  • Defended a nursing home facility in litigation regarding the scope of state agency authority to interview residents without prior notice
  • Lead counsel for video lottery operators in contract disputes with video lottery retailers
  • West Virginia counsel for national equipment lender collecting on commercial debts
  • Defended numerous realtors against claims involving property sales
  • Represented clients in pharmaceutical patent actions
  • Represented long-term care providers and other creditors in estate and guardianship proceedings in probate courts throughout Ohio, including proceedings to surcharge a guardian's bond, uncover concealed assets, sell real estate, and collect debts owed by decedents or wards
  • Litigated property cases involving express and implied easements, partition actions, missing heir petitions, boundary disputes, and title disputes
  • Sought dismissal of antitrust and unfair trade practices claims against doctor relating to his participation on hospital's privilege review committee
  • Litigated an antitrust action for a dominant health care provider in Pennsylvania involving a battle for the control of a major hospital
  • Represented manufactured housing retailer in antitrust dispute with a competitor
  • Conducted internal investigations and defended several clients, including large national companies, suspected of securities and other white collar violations
  • Represented mortgage broker in licensure matter with the West Virginia Division of Banking
  • Represented client in employment contract, wage payment, and gender discrimination cases
  • Sought dismissal for hospital on statute of limitations grounds of alleged retaliatory discharge action against a hospital brought by purported whistleblower
  • Represented shareholder in closely held land holding corporation in dispute with another shareholder which resulted in favorable settlement for client including transfer of cash, real estate and interest in royalties


Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is a U.S. energy firm with core strengths in labor & employment, litigation and transactional law. In 2013, Steptoe & Johnson celebrated 100 years of helping clients reach their goals.


Did you know?

One Firm

Ours is a client-of-the-firm culture, service model and compensation system that matches the best talent to the assignment and puts your economic interest ahead of ours.

Leaders in our Field

22 of us are ranked as “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USA.

Face-to-Face Client Interviews

25+ face-to-face client interviews are conducted every year by our CEO and firm management to learn how we can do better (so please give us an earful).

15 Offices Throughout the U.S.

15 offices throughout Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.

Leaders in our Field

Steptoe & Johnson was the first firm to successfully secure regulatory approval for a multi-lateral Utica shale well.

10.5 Years

equals the average tenure of our client relationship. We'd like to be in it for the long haul with you too.