Michael R. Shebelskie represents clients in complex litigation across a broad array of subject matters, including commercial disputes and corporate torts, energy and environmental litigation, intellectual property rights, fiduciary matters, and constitutional and statutory issues.
Mike practices before both trial and appellate courts, as well as agencies and in arbitration proceedings. Mike has tried numerous cases in federal and state courts, and has represented parties in appeals throughout the country.
Mike’s commercial litigation practice encompasses a full spectrum of disputes such as contracts and business torts, products liability, ERISA, tax, securities, partnership and business governance controversies, legal and medical malpractice, land use, construction, and insurance coverage issues.
He has extensive experience in intellectual property matters involving trade secrets and copyrights, and also has a significant experience in trusts and estates litigation.
His practice in the energy and environmental area includes the representation of utilities that produce and distribute nuclear, coal and alternative energy-based electricity, as well as companies engaged in the extraction, refining and distribution of oil and natural gas.
Mike has handled matters involving compliance with the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. For a number of years, he has represented the US Department of Energy in licensing matters involving the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and related administrative proceedings.
Mike’s broad practice has made him proficient in trying scientific and technical subject matters. His ability to quickly understand complex scientific concepts and technology enables him to advise expert witnesses, communicate with judges and jurors, design sophisticated litigation tactics, and negotiate effectively with opposing counsel.
Mike has represented parties in federal and state trial courts around the country and has represented parties in appeals before the US Supreme Court; the Supreme Court of Virginia; and the US Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Federal Circuits.
After earning his law degree, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Frank M. Johnson, Jr., of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Mike currently serves on the Third District Disciplinary Subcommittee for the Virginia State Bar, for which he hears matters involving professional misconduct and other violations of ethical standards in the legal profession.
- Tried multi-month Superfund case in federal district court in Michigan seeking allocation of clean-up costs among other responsible parties.
- Successfully appealed to US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit challenge to ICE’s assessment of penalty against employer for violations of Immigration and Nationality Act.
- Successfully appealed to Virginia Supreme Court locality’s multi-million dollar tax assessments against electric utility for gas used to generate electricity.
- Successfully appealed to Virginia Supreme Court suit for specific performance of real estate contract.
- Successfully appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit constitutional challenge to President’s recess appointments to the NLRB.
- Successfully defended on appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit the dismissal of asbestos personal injury claim because of the failure of plaintiff’s experts to establish causation.
- Successfully reversed on appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court erroneous assessment of BPOL tax on multi-state business.
- Successfully defended video game developer against multimillion-dollar claims of breach of contract and fraud in three-week jury trial in federal court arising from license agreement for video game software; jury rejected all of plaintiff’s claims and found in favor of the developer on its counterclaims for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement; the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.
- Successfully represented commercial supplier of hydraulic fracturing sand in proceedings to confirm a significant arbitration award arising in connection with dispute under supply contract.
- Represented US Department of Energy in license proceedings before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the Yucca Mountain repository.
- Successfully represented coal mining companies and coal associations in multiple appeals in the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing injunctions that prohibited federal and state agencies from issuing permits for surface coal operations. The appeals involved constitutional and regulatory issues regarding the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
- Successfully defended bank holding company, broker/dealer subsidiary, and individual registered representative, in a four-week jury trial in federal court, in a $60 million lawsuit alleging violations of RICO, federal and state securities laws, and common law claims arising from losses in options trading account.
- Successfully prosecuted RICO claims in federal court against unions on behalf of two employers.
- Successfully represented hospital authority against False Claims Act claim in federal court. The court dismissed the claim and awarded fees and costs to the authority. The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.
- Successfully represented major defense contractor, in a three-week jury trial in federal court, that had sued competitor for theft of trade secrets in design of equipment used in US Navy warships.
- Successfully represented federal Indian tribe against lawsuits seeking to enjoin telephone and Internet-based lottery. The lawsuits were brought by various state attorneys general and entailed issues under federal Indian and gaming laws.
- Successfully defended major electric utility in several lawsuits, in trials in federal and state court, brought by various independent power producers over pricing and other provisions in the parties’ long-term power supply contracts.
- Successfully represented numerous parties in a wide variety of other appeals in federal courts throughout the country and in the Virginia Supreme Court; these appeals have included First Amendment and other constitutional issues, federal regulatory issues, and contract disputes.
- Successfully defended national broker/dealer in federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin disposition of pledged shares to satisfy margin debt.
- Successfully represented fiduciaries in various trusts and estate disputes.
- Successfully represented various entities in tax refund suits.
- Successfully represented a number of private employers and localities that sued an insurance company for fraud in the administration of ERISA plans.
- JD, Yale Law School, Senior Editor, Yale Law Journal, 1986
- BA, Economics, Duke University, summa cum laude, 1983
- US Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Virginia Bar Association
- Member, Richmond Bar Association
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