Russell D. Jessee


Russell Jessee is the leader of the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group.  His practice focuses on resolving disputes for business clients.

Mr. Jessee litigates contract disputes for clients in the banking, insurance, healthcare, and gaming industries, among others.  He defends creditors and debt servicers in consumer credit litigation.  He defends businesses in cases involving unfair trade practices, antitrust violations, business fraud, and other business torts.  Recently, he was part of the national defense team representing a large pharmaceutical distributor defending lawsuits by state and county officials and agencies making claims about prescription opioid distribution.

Mr. Jessee represents businesses in disputes before regulatory agencies. He pursues commercial debtors for commercial creditors, and he pursues medical providers who fraudulently submit claims to health insurers.  Mr. Jessee also defends businesses in difficult employment cases, particularly those involving trade secrets and employment contract issues.

Mr. Jessee has significant experience defending class actions. He has recently defended or is defending a medical insurer in a billing class action by a participating provider, a floor cleaning franchise in a service fee class action, a large hospital group in a data breach class action, a medical records provider in a statutory pricing class action, and a municipal water system in a class action alleging lead contamination. His practice extends to reviewing contracts during negotiations to increase protections for his clients and to help decrease litigation risk down the road.  Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Jessee was managing editor of The Pocahontas Times, in Marlinton, West Virginia.

Click here to read: I Said, “Stop!” … Or At Least I Thought I Did: Borrower Complaint Letters That Trigger A Duty To Respond, WV Bankers Magazine, Pub. 13 2022 Issue 2

Representative Experience

  • Represents employers and insurers in federal ERISA and state court litigation defending lawsuits over employee benefits, including obtaining ERISA preemption dismissal of state law claims of wrongful denial of disability benefits against employer hospital
  • Obtained summary judgment for commercial real estate purchaser to specifically enforce seller’s contractual obligation to bring utilities to the site at its sole cost and expense before closing, despite seller’s post-contracting discovery that utility cost would be large relative to sale price; summary judgment award also included client’s legal expenses under a contractual fee-shifting provision
  • Co-lead counsel defending large pharmaceutical distributor in more than 3,000 opioid lawsuits in state and federal courts nationwide; responsibilities include developing arguments for and implementing the removal of state court suits to federal court
  • Lead counsel for a large health insurer in a purported class action by a participating network doctor, alleging violations of state statutes governing the relationship between health insurers and network doctors, in which the insurer defeated the plaintiff’s motion to certify a class
  • Lead counsel for multiple banks, national creditors, and debt servicers in suits brought under the West Virginia Consumer Credit & Protection Act, the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and other consumer protection statutes
  • Obtained ERISA preemption dismissal of large healthcare provider from a lawsuit seeking reinstatement of disability benefits
  • Lead counsel for a national bank, obtaining defense verdict, in jury trial of aiding and abetting fraud claim
  • West Virginia counsel for national jewelry retailer in infringement actions against local retailer
  • Lead counsel for a large health insurer against medical providers submitting wrongful and fraudulent claims for reimbursement
  • Lead counsel for video lottery operator in dispute with the West Virginia Lottery Commission over the award of 10-year permits in a sealed-bid auction
  • Lead counsel for video lottery operators in contract disputes with video lottery retailers
  • Lead counsel for national equipment lender collecting on commercial debts in West Virginia
  • Represented seller of coal leases in a multimillion-dollar sales contract dispute
  • Litigated execution on judgment issues for a large telecommunications client that paved the way for a $7 million financing to proceed
  • Obtained dismissal of antitrust and unfair trade practices claims against doctor relating to his participation on hospital’s privilege review committee
  • Represented a manufactured housing retailer in an 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 employer clients in employment contracts, wage payment, and gender discrimination cases
  • Obtained summary judgment on purported class claims for wage and hour violations and individual claims of discriminatory discharge

Licensed In

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia


  • J.D. Washington and Lee University School of Law
  • B.A. Communication Studies, Virginia Tech


  • West Virginia Bankers Association
  • Defense Research Institute/Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia
  • Judge John A. Field, Jr., American Inn of Court
  • Director, Friends of Pocahontas County Free Libraries
  • Accredited Fraud Investigator, University of Charleston, 2009


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Banking and Finance Law (2024-Present), Bet-the-Company Litigation (2024-Present), (Commercial Litigation (2013-Present), Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants (2021-Present), Product Liability Litigation – Defendants (2024-Present)
  • Super Lawyers®
  • Best Lawyers® 2024 Charleston, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Lawyer of the Year

Speaking Engagements

  • “e-Discovery Tools and Strategies,” 2010 Mountaineer CLE Series, WVU College of Law (September 2010)
  • “The Taxman Cometh: An Examination of Recent West Virginia Tax Appeal Decisions,” Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Annual Meeting Notebook (June 2009)
  • Recent “Antitrust Decisions Affecting West Virginia,” Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Annual Meeting Notebook (May 2008)
  • “Bank Customer Privacy Rights – What Can You Do When Something Seems Wrong?” West Virginia Banker Magazine (Summer 2007)
  • “Protecting the Employment Rights of Those Who Serve: A Case Law Update on USERRA,” Lead Article, The Job Description, Defense Research Institute (Spring 2006)
  • Note, “Pleading to Stay in State Court: Forum Control, Federal Removal Jurisdiction, and the Amount in Controversy Requirement,” 56 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 651 (1999)


  • Co-author “I Said, ‘Stop!’ … Or At Least I Thought I Did: Borrower Complaint Letters That Trigger A Duty To Respond,” WV Bankers Magazine, Summer 2022
  • Co-author “Avoiding CCPA Debt Collection Traps – A Periodic Reminder,” WV Bankers Magazine, Winter 2020
  • Lead Articles Editor, Washington and Lee Law Review, 1998-1999

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