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William V. DePaulo, Esq.



                                                                                                                                                             In A Nutshell

Bill DePaulo, pictured here with canine pals Frazier and Moze in front of the New River Gorge bridge, graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C in 1973, clerked for Judge John A. Field, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1973 to 1974, and was admitted to the West Virginia bar in 1974, and the D.C. bar in 1975.

Current Practice

In 2022, Mr. DePaulo was retained to represent the White Rock Mountain Retreat Property Owners Association, in an action in the Circuit Court of Greenbrier County, against the project developer and others for violations of statutes governing use and management of common elements, and other matters.  

In 2020  Mr.DePaulo successfully prosecuted the largest individual claim in the class action arising out of the 2014 chemical pollution of the Elk River and water supply for 300,000 customers of West Virginia American Water Co, resulting in the maximum court-authorized award of $1,000,000 for a client disabled by exposure to the MCHM4 chemical pollutant.

From 2015 to 2020, Mr. DePaulo successfully prosecuted an unemployed client's appeal to the Kanawha County Cirucit Court of the decision of the Board of Review Workforc denying her unemployment benefits for "cause,' where her dismissal from employment was based on her having engaged in politspeech protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.   

In 2017, Mr. DePaulo obtained the removal of individual co-trustees          engaged in long-term, self-dealing with trust assets involving several      million dollars. Those same defendants were removed from positions of Chair and President of the trust-owned corporate assets. Corporate properties repeatedly looted by prior trustees, including a family-owned manor house in the Loudon Heights neighborhood of Charleston, WV, were liquidated for distribution to trust beneficiaries. Actions for compensatory and punitive damages against prior trustees are pending.

In 2016 and 2017, Mr. DePaulo represented minority shareholders in an FCC-licensed television broadcast company located in southern West Virginia, first resisting efforts to expel them from ownership, and subsequently forcing the dominant shareholders to transfer control to the represented minority shareholders who today operate the company.  

 In April 2018, Mr. DePaulo represented organizers of Lewisburg's first "Renaissance Festival" before the Greenbrier County Board of Zoning Appeals, Plainning Commission in efforts resulting in the issuance of a permit allowing the Festival to present its program throughout June, 2018.



MIC LITIGATION: In February 8, 2011, Mr. DePaulo filed Nye v. Bayer CropScience, a civil action to enjoin the restart of the Bayer CropScience MIC (methyl isocyanate) plant in Institute, WV unless and until Bayer and related agencies of the state and federal government could certify that they had implemented the recommendations of the Chemical Safety Board's investigation following a fatal explosion at Institute in August 2008. Bayer's Institute plant was the only facility in the world that stored large quantities of MIC, the highly volatile toxic chemical released in December 1984 in Bhopal, India, killing tens of thousands of citizens of Bhopal. 

On February 10, 2011, the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia granted a temporary restraining order, barring the restart of the Institute plant. In the ensuing weeks Bayer was required to produce more than 300,000 pages of documents in discovery. 

On Friday, March 18, 2011, immediately preceding a hearing on a preliminary injunction scheduled for Monday, March 21, Bayer announced that it would permanently cease all manufacture, transportation and storage of MIC at the Institute plant. 








Environmental Matters

NATURAL GAS PIPELINES: Over the Summer and Fall of 2019, Mr. DePaulo  defended three climate activists , in state criminal proceedings alleging felony violation of "terrorist" threats incident to their tying their bodies to equipment employed in the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a $4.6 billion natural gas pipeline. The court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the felony "terrorist" threat charges, whuch argued that some verbal communication is required to support a charge of "terrorist" threat, and that the arresting officer has stipulated that the defendant stated "nothing of any consequence" beyond identifying himself. The $4.6 billion MVP and the $7 billion parallel Atlantic Coast pipeline being constructed across Virginia and West Virginia, could fund the construction of 580,000 roof-top solar installations, 79% of all households in West Virginia

In February, 2018, Mr. DePaulo successfuly defended so-called "tree-sitters" on Peters Mountain protesting construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, in a civil action commenced by MVP to obtain an injunction against continued occupation of the natural gas pipeline right of way. The Court ruled that MVP had failed to establish that the defendants were sitting in trees located on the MVP right of way and, ultimately, dismissed the MVP lawsuit.

DEP: In early 2019, Mr. DePaulo successfully represented a Monroe County, WV landowner in a Circuit Court appeal resulting in the reversal of an Environmental Quality Board order imposing environmental clean up costs on the landowner for a chemical spill caused exclusively by a concrete truck operator who overtuned its vehicle on the landowner's property.

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL: In 2014 and 2015, Mr. DePaulo represented the Kanawha Forest Coalition in actions before the WV DEP, the Surface Miine Appeal Board, the Kanawha County Circuit Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals, resisting the issuance of a surface mining permit that would have permitted a destructive mountaintop removal mine immediately adjacent to residents of Loudendale, and across the street from the Kanawha State Park. DEP ulrimately revoked the suface mining permit on the basis of repeated, documented violations of the permit.

In 2004, Mr. DePaulo assisted Larry Gibson in creating the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation which fought mountaintop removal coal mining through the date of Larry's death in 2012, and continues to serve on the board of KOTM assisting in efforts to convert former coal mining properties into industrial-scale solar installations.


: Mr. DePaulo has intervened at the PSC on behalf of environmental groups in licensing proceedings to affect the location of Weet Virginia's first wind mill turbines, and successfully negotiated settlements pertaining to these issues.

Mr. DePaulo represented an environmental organization in complaint proceedings at the PSC against electric utilities resulting in the issuance of the first order permitting "net metering " of private wind power electric generators by electric utilities. In 2015, Mr. DePaulo also served on a PSC-appointed task force to study the futute of "net-metering" in West Virginia.

In 2009 and 2010, Mr. DePaulo represented the Sierra Club in proceedings at the West Virginia Public Service Commission opposing the application by subsidiaries of American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy to construct a 224-mile electric transmission line from Winfield, WV to Maryland.

In 2007 and 2008, Mr. DePaulo represented the Sierra Club in proceedings by an Allegheny Energy's subsidiary to obtain authorization to build an interstate electric transmission line from Pennsylvania, across West Virginia, and terminating in Virginia.

COURT LITIGATION: Mr. DePaulo has represented environmental groups in an injunction action before the US District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia to protect access to the Monongahela National Forest, Sierra Club v. Allegheny Wood Products, Mr. DePaulo filed Circuit Court action to protect license plate funding for non-game wildlife conservation efforts, Audubon v. DMV and NASCAR. Mr. DePaulo prevailed for individual citizens to intervene in state enforcement proceedings against polluters under the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act. Ball v. Cummings.

ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION: Mr. DePaulo helped organzie and served as a director of Appalachian Stewardship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that funds environmental remediation programs in Appalachia.

Civil LitigationSECURITIES LITIGATION: In March, 2011, Mr. DePaulo successfully prosecuted and settled a federal securities act cause of action in the United States District Court of Nebraska on behalf of an individual investor. The civil action for fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract was commenced against promoters of oil and gas drilling programs for investments over a ten-year period, and resulted in a return of the entire investment plus interest.

Additionally, in December 2010, he successfully defended a registered investment advisor before FINRA in litigation arising out of the collapse of the stock market in late 2008. The action, appealed repeatedly by the unsuccessful plaintiff, resulted in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issuing a permanent injunction barring the plaintiff from commencing future actions against the defendant. Additional investor actions against underwriters have been filed on behalf of individual investors for failure to adequately disclose the values of stocks, have been filed with FINRA and settled by mediation.

SECURITIES REGISTRATION: Federal agency experience includes registration in 1976 of First Variable Rate Fund for Government Income, Inc. (the initial mutual fund of the Calvert Investments group of funds) with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ABUSE:Mr. DePaulo has represented plaintiffs successfullly in cases seeking damages for sexual abuse of students in the West Virginia school systems, including a claim of negligence in the against Philadelphia school officials for failing to disclose a former teacher's dismissal for sex abuse in communications with a subsequent employer within the West Virginia school system.

PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION: Mr. DePaulo obtained $500,000 in  a civil action against a drunk driver for injuries to a 23-year old single mother and infant child whose vehicle was struck in 2012 by a former City of Charles Town policeman, and  prosecuted claims against the City police and Jefferson County Sheriff's Department for unlawfully attempting to shift blame for the motor vehicle accident to the injured 23-year old mother, and away from the former City policeman, whose whose alcohol level registered .23, nearly three times the legal limit.

DePaulo has settled claims against Polaris for the death of a sixteen year old child riding on an ATV with a defective clutch, and against Ford for bodily injury as a result of a defective throttle cable in a Ford Escape, which was subsequently recalled.

ENERGY PRACTICE: Mr. DePaulo's experience in the petroleum industry includes negotiation of an offshore exploration contract and development of an environmental protection program for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He has defended the largest independent importer of crude oil into the United States in agency and court proceedings against the United States Department of Energy, and has prosecuted a group of plaintiff actions against the U.S. Department of Interior seeking recovery of overcharges in excess of one billion dollars in sales of USGS royalty crude oil to small refiners. Mr. DePaulo has represented transporters of nuclear materials in enforcement proceedings before the Federal Aviation Administration, and public interest safety groups in rulemaking proceedings before the Federal Highways Administration.

FOIA LITIGATION: In 1976 Mr. DePaulo filed the first lawsui which successfuly applied the Freedom of Information Act t to computerized records of the federal government. He has also advocated the use of statistical "disclosure avoidance techniques" as a tool for reasonably segregating exempt and non-exempt data, before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Yeager v. Drug Enforcement Administration.

APPELLATE PRACTICE: Mr. DePaul's appellate preactice includes the currently    pending appeal before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (Case No. 21-0007) from a Circuit Court's failure to grant a motion for directed verdict in a fee collection action where the plaintiff-real estate broker rested without presenting  evidence of licensure at the time brokerage services were performed, as required by W. V. Code  30-40-25.    

Successful prior appeals have included Farmers Mutual Insurance Company v. Tucker (reversing prior controlling precedent), SER Ball v. Cummings (establishing criteria for mandatory intervention under Rule 24), and Taylor v. Culloden PSD and West Virginia American Water Company (applying continuous tort exception to avoid statute of limitations) . He has argued cases in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth and District of Columbia Circuits.

BANKRUPTCY PRACTICE: Mr. DePaulo has defended debtor-businesses in cases commenced by a creditor-filed, involuntary petition. Mr. DePaulo has also represented minority stock holders in bankruptcy proceedings to displace corrupt management before the United States Bankruptcy Court and District Court for Maryland, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.




International Practice Mr. DePaulo has represented a coalition of Great Lake port operators before the Agency for International Development and the United States Congress in issues relating to cargo preference subsidies for American flag vessels.

Representation of international clients has included European exporting companies active in the Peoples Republic of Angola, and manufacturers of infra-red security devices with homeland security applications regarding intellectual property licensing negotiations in the United States. 


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Bar Admissions and PublicationsMr. DePaulo is a member of the bars of West Virginia and the District of Columbia. He has been admitted to the bars of the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Third, Fourth, Sixth and D.C. Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts for West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Nebraska and Maryland. 

He has appeared pro hac vice in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Eastern District of Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana and Wyoming.

Publications include "How Does A Centipede Ride a Pogo Stick?", an analysis of the application of Subpart F of the Mandatory Petroleum Price Regulations to Crude Oil Resellers Prior to January 1, 1978.

© 2022 William V. DePaulo