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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. He 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. He has been in the private practice of law for the past 38 years, in Washington, DC and West Virginia. Mr. DePaulo currently maintains offices in Charleston and Lewisburg, West Virginia. Mr. DePaulo’s current practice includes commercial litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants in the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia and in the Circuit Courts of the state.

Current Civil Practice

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 interests. 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. Mr. DePaulo currently represents plaintiffs in actions for breach of fiduciary duties by trustees and looting of a closely held corporations by directors and officers. 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 and referred to FINRA for arbitration.He has also represented a plaintiff in an action to remove trustees of a family trust, and directors of closely-held corporations for self-dealing and minority shareholder oppression.

On February 8, 2011, Mr. DePaulo filed an 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. The 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. The Bhopal plant was modeled on the Institute plant; both were designed and constructed, and formerly owned by Union Carbide. 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 and storage of MIC at the Institute plant. Mr. DePaulo currently represents citizens of Instittue, West Virginia in actions before the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, against Dow Chemical for injuries arising from a 2009 release of ethylene oxide at an Institute, WV chemical plant.

Mr. DePaulo has filed 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 against the City police and Jefferson County Sheriff's Department for civil rights violations in 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 2.3.Mr. 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. 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.

Environmental Matters Mr. DePaulo has appeared before the West Virginia Public Service Commission on behalf of citizen groups to oppose the transfer of coal-fired electric plants from the merchant side of American Electric Power and First Energy to the regulated electric generators of those two corporations, and to pursue increased energy efficiency programs from the state's two large electric utilities.

Mr. DePaulo has alsointervened at the PSC on behalf of environmental groups in licensing proceedings to affect the location of wind mill turbines, and successfully negotiated settlements pertaining to these issues. He has also 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 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, he 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.

Mr. DePaulo has represented environmental groups in actions to protect access to the Monongahela National Forest, Sierra Club v. Allegheny Wood Products, to protect license plate funding for non-game wildlife conservation efforts, Audubon v. DMV and NASCAR, and to permit individual citizens to intervene in state enforcement proceedings against polluters under the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act. Ball v. Cummings.

Mr. DePaulo is a director of Appalachian Stewardship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that funds environmental remediation programs in Appalachia. He has assisted in the organization and qualification of tax exempt 501(c)(3) organizations that engage in environmental education and community action, and tax exempt 501(c)(4) organizations engaged in political advocacy.

Energy and Administrative Practice Mr. DePaulo has had extensive experience in the petroleum industry, including 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.

In 1976 Mr. DePaulo filed the first case which successfuly applied the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit 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.

His 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.



Bankruptcy PracticeMr. DePaulo represents businesses burdened by debt in Chapter 11 reorganizations, and 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..

Mr. DePaulo has filed adversary proceedings objecting to the discharge of debts on the basis of fraud, and successfully defended individuals charged with fraud in adversary proceeding in trials at the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.. Mr. DePaulo also assists individuals with substantial debt problems seeking relief under Chapters 7 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Appellate Practice Mr. DePaulo has an active appellate practice. Successful 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.

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.

His 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. 


Passeggiata: che cos'è ?

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.

© 2004-2013 William V. DePaulo