Stephen is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services group with a primary focus in the Enforcement Actions & Investigations and the State Attorneys General practices where he represents clients interacting with and being investigated by state Attorneys General and other enforcement bodies.
Stephen also represents and advises clients in a variety of industries and government entities, including corporate clients involved in litigation and administrative proceedings; tobacco clients such as small tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors involved in legal and regulatory compliance matters; as well as government candidate clients regarding election law matters such as recounts, contests, recalls, and other election-related matters. Additionally, Stephen is experienced in labor and employment law and in representing insurance companies in first-party life, health and disability claims. He has also handled disputes involving non-compete agreements, ERISA cases and litigation involving employment contracts. Finally, Stephen is experienced in appellate advocacy and has appeared on brief in appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Virginia, and in various courts reviewing administrative decisions.
State Attorneys General
Represent international pharmaceutical company with respect to issues related to knock-off products before states Attorneys General.
Represent international home service contract provider in the interactions with state Attorneys General and other state governmental and quasi-governmental bodies.
Interact on behalf of client with national Attorneys General associations, including the National Association of Attorneys General, Republican Attorneys General Association, Democratic Attorneys General Association, and Conference of Western Attorneys General.
Local Government Law
Counsel to local government bodies on a wide range of issues, including government structure, boundary adjustments and disputes, annexations, consolidations, and disputes over utility service both inside and outside local boundaries.
Advises clients dealing with zoning and land use issues.
Represents local, state and national campaigns, candidates and government bodies dealing with election law issues, recounts, challenges to qualifications, and Voting Rights Act challenges.
Defends local government bodies and individuals charged with civil and criminal malfeasance in office.
Counsel in statewide election recount for Attorney General of Virginia (2013).
Successfully defended newly elected city council member in election recount and contest. Tyler v. Baliles, Case Nos. CL 12-5266-00 and CL 12-5053-00 (Richmond Cir. Ct. Dec. 2012).
Served as Election Day counsel to McCain-Palin 2008 and Romney-Ryan 2012 campaigns for Virginia. Obtained injunctions requiring school board candidate to be placed on ballot, Eppes v. Showalter, No. 3:12-cv-000545 (E.D. Va. Aug. 16, 2012), and requiring mayoral candidate to be placed on ballot, Ryan v. Showalter, No. CL12-3277-3 (Richmond Cir. Ct. Sept. 2012).
Successfully defended circuit judge in a proceeding in which the Attorney General sought a writ of prohibition against the judge to prevent him from ruling on questions related to the General Assembly’s authority to adopt a reapportionment plan in 2012. In re Virginia State Board of Elections, Case No. 120149 (Va. 2012).
Represented non-partisan civic group in obtaining injunction requiring Virginia election officials to make voter history lists available for purpose of encouraging voter participation.
Represented non-partisan Military Voters Protection Project in obtaining landmark injunction requiring Maryland election officials to extend deadline for receipt of absentee ballots from overseas and military voters Doe v. Walker. 746 F. Supp. 2d 667 (D. Md. 2010).
Served as counsel to McCain-Palin campaign in obtaining injunction requiring preservation and accounting of “late” military absentee ballots United States v. Cunningham, No. 3:08cv709, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98010 (E.D. Va. Oct. 15, 2009).
Represented small tobacco companies in First Amendment lawsuit against Food & Drug Administration (FDA), winning agreement from FDA not to enforce regulation limiting products names against clients (2010).
Represented makers of Roll-your-own cigarette machines in cases around the country, including a case of first impression regarding a ruling issued by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the U.S. Treasury Department. Obtained a preliminary injunction against TTB's ruling. RYO Machine Rental LLC v. United States Dep't of Treasury, Case No. 4:10-CV-2462, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132026 (N.D. Ohio. Dec. 14, 2010).
Represented a tobacco wholesaler in multi-million dollar RICO litigation.
Advises tobacco manufacturers regarding compliance with the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).
Represents parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act “IDEA” in litigation against local school districts. Reported decisions include: M.S. v. Fairfax County School Bd., 553 F.3d 315 (4th Cir. 2009); H.H. v. Moffett, Case No. 08-1009, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 14849 (4th Cir. July 7, 2009); H.H. v. Moffett, Case No. 3:07cv223, 2007 U.S. District LEXIS 8762 (E.D. Va. Nov. 29, 2007); Hogan v. Fairfax County School Bd., Case No. 1:08cv250, 2009 U.S. District LEXIS 67773 (E.D. Va. Aug. 3, 2009).
Other Complex Litigation
Represents clients involved in federal copyright, trademark, and patent litigation before federal and state courts and regulatory bodies.
Represents commercial clients in contractual disputes.
Represents national banks and debt collectors in consumer finance disputes.
Represents business entities and their members, managers and shareholders in disputes over membership interests and shareholder’s rights.
Reported decisions include: McAfee v. Boczar, No. 3:11cv646, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115323 (Aug. 15, 2012) (denying renewed motion for qualified immunity by deputy sheriff found to have maliciously prosecuted citizen under federal law); Garrett v. Margolis, Pritzker, Epstein & Blatt, P.A., No. 3:11-cv-00298, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43113 (E.D. Va. Mar. 28, 2012) (dispute involving claim against law firm debt collector); Strong Found. Youth Initiative LLC v. Ashford, No. CL09-4538, 2009 Va. Cir. LEXIS 140 (City of Richmond Cir. Ct. Nov. 4, 2009) (dispute involving control of limited liability company); Velocity Micro, Inc. v. Edge Interactive Media, Inc., No. 3:08cv135, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90873 (E.D. Va. Nov. 7, 2008) (dispute involving trademark claim); Sowers v. Bd. of Supervisors, 71 Va. Cir. 324 (Nottoway County Cir. Ct. 2006) (dispute involving citizens sued by developer who claimed their advocacy had thwarted his efforts to rezone property).
Publications, Presentations, and Speaking Engagements
Stephen provides ongoing analysis and commentary on developments in the consumer financial services industry, with a focus on service contractors, through the Consumer Financial Services Law Monitor blog. Stephen also regularly contributes to the firm’s Tobacco Law Blog.
Stephen C. Piepgrass, et al., "Supreme Court Rules that CAFA Does Not Allow Removal of Lawsuits Brought by State Attorneys General on Behalf of Consumers," TerraLex Connections, April 4, 2014.
Stephen C. Piepgrass & Anne Hampton Andrews, “Ramifications of Shelby County v. Holder for Practitioners in Virginia,” Virginia State Bar Journal of Local Government Law, 25-29 (Fall 2013).
Hon. Robert G. Doumar, Stephen C. Piepgrass, Stanley G. Barr, Jr., 2012-2013 Case Law Update, Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, October 24, 2013.
“Post CAFA: Objections by State Attorneys General to Class Action Settlements,” American Bar Association State and Local Government Law News, Vol. 36, No. 4, Summer 2013.
Stephen C. Piepgrass, quoted regarding election law, Supreme Court overturns key Voting Rights Act provision, (WTVR CBS 6 television noon broadcast, June 25, 2013).
Stephen Piepgrass, Annual Case Law Update, Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, October 5, 2012.
Stephen Piepgrass & Nick Klaiber, Troutman Sanders Advisory, “Federal Court Sends Putative FDCPA Class Claim To Individual Arbitration,” regarding Garrett v. Margolis, Pritzker, Epstein & Blatt, P.A., Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-00298, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43113 (E.D. Va. Mar. 28, 2012) (April 2012).
Stephen C. Piepgrass, quoted regarding Virginia election law - Virginia Voter ID bill awaits Governor while Texas version gets court challenge, (WTVR CBS 6 television broadcast, March 12, 2012).
Stephen C. Piepgrass, quoted regarding Virginia election law - Will new bill make voting harder?, (WTVR CBS 6 television broadcast, Feb. 7, 2012).
Stephen C. Piepgrass, quoted regarding Virginia election law, Investigation: Does Richmond City Councilman Live in His District? , (WTVR CBS 6 television broadcast, Feb. 3, 2012).
Stephen C. Piepgrass & Paige S. Fitzgerald, “Troutman Sanders Tobacco Team: Uncertainties Ahead for NPM Cigarettes,” Smokeshop, 48-50 (Feb. 2012).
Stephen Piepgrass, Sam Darby, Warren Greth, 2009-2010 Case Law Update, Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, October 30, 2010.
Honors and Other Distinctions
Named as one of Virginia Super Lawyers' Rising Stars for 2010 and 2013.
Named as one of Virginia Super Lawyers' Rising Stars in Government/Cities/Municipalities for 2013.
Member of the Board of Strategies to Elevate People (STEP), 2010-2012.
Member of Missions Committees of Third Presbyterian Church, 2012.