Scott Sexton, Senior Litigation Partner, is always neck-deep in some large and complicated lawsuit. He is truly at home in the courtroom, and his work ethic is unsurpassed. His partners and clients value his creative energy, hard work, persistence and ability to communicate complicated issues in simple terms. Scott practices law with the fundamental belief that there are many paths to victory, and most are not obvious or easy. For him, “no” is not an answer, just an invitation to find another way – or try harder.

Scott’s cases include complex commercial litigation, products liability, toxic torts, significant property disputes, mineral cases, catastrophic injuries, mass torts, and multi-district litigation. He chairs the firm’s Mineral, Energy and Natural Resources section, has been recognized by his peers as a Leader in the Law for his role in developing the law in Virginia, is a charter member of the International Institute of Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law, a member of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, and a Senior Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America. Combining an understanding of business and industry with decades of experience in the law, Scott is known as an aggressive but fair advocate for his clients’ positions. He is frequently called on by his law partners and lawyers outside the firm for assistance and advice with challenging cases. And, he is consistently voted by his peers as a Virginia Super Lawyer, and ranked as one of Virginia’s Legal Elite and one of the Best Lawyers in America.

  • Years with the firm
  • Single largest settlement achieved (Millions)
  • Children
  • How do you describe your work as a trial lawyer?

    It’s not work, because I love what I do. There is always a new challenge, but I particularly enjoy taking complicated facts and legal issues and presenting them to a judge or jury in a way that is true, understandable, interesting and compelling. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

  • Do you have a life lesson you live by?

    Tell the truth, and be respectful. Our choices have lasting consequences, so how you treat people matters ̶ both to you and to them.

  • Who is your role model?

    As a lawyer and role model, St. Thomas More is the man: intelligent, respectful, loyal, and dedicated. He also proved that hardships often come with doing what you see as the right thing; so we should not expect our path to be easy ̶ particularly if it is a principled path.


  • Southern Methodist University School of Law, J.D.
  • University of Dallas, B.A. with honors


In 2010, Scott Sexton was named a “Leader in the Law” for his role as “Developer of the Law on Virginia Mineral Rights.” In addition to trial work in this area, his focus in this field has taken him to the Virginia Supreme Court on numerous occasions over the past decade. Scott also focuses on complicated tort matters including Products Liability, Catastrophic Injury, and Qui Tam Relator Whistleblower cases.

Energy Cases: Mineral, Energy, and Land Rights

  • Obtained judgment for over $23 million against Peabody Energy Corporation subsidiary
  • Represented coal owner interests in federal class action over competing property rights in coal bed methane
  • Represented long-time property owners against claims that prior conveyances were invalid
  • Represented surface property owner against aggressive claims by multi-national limestone producer
  • Negotiated favorable resolution to complicated regulatory claims against contract miner in West Virginia
  • Defended large gas company against multi-million dollar claims
  • Represented southwest Virginia local governments in negotiations with the coal industry regarding severance taxes
  • Obtained 75 million dollar settlement on behalf of mineral owners regarding claims of unauthorized dumping in old mine works
  • Obtained largest jury verdict on record in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia on behalf of mineral owners regarding deductions from royalty
  • Obtained summary judgment liability ruling that coal operator had no right to dump mine wastewater in mine works where plaintiffs owned coal
  • Judicially overturned arbitration decision denying coal owner clients’ claims that coal operator had caused coal to become “lost or threatened” under terms of coal lease
  • Obtained ruling by Virginia Supreme Court that coal company had no legal right to dump mine waste in old mine works
  • Obtained ruling by Virginia Supreme Court that gas company could not block construction of a competing gas pipeline when CNX asserted that it had the “exclusive” right to construct pipelines under its gas lease with the 20,000 acre property owner
  • Argued landmark decision at trial court and before the Virginia Supreme Court determining ownership of Coalbed Methane gas in Virginia
  • Successfully defended manufacturer in defective pipeline case
  • Successfully defended gas production company’s property interests in gas storage facility
  • Represented numerous parties in various disputes involving Joint Operating Agreements
  • Successfully defended gas transportation company in claims related to contract for construction of pipeline
  • Successfully defended gas distribution company in claims related to gas explosion
  • Successfully obtained reversal of temporary injunction issued against gas production company related to construction of and access to pipeline facility
  • Represented gas production company in anti-trust and business conspiracy case against competitor
  • Represented mineral owners before Virginia Gas and Oil Board
  • Represented gas production company before Virginia Gas and Oil Board
  • Successfully defended mineral owners against claim by others alleging competing title to coalbed methane gas and royalties
  • Represented mineral owners in claims for over-deduction from royalties (ongoing)
  • Represented gas production company in claims by injured pipeline worker
  • Represented former shareholder in gas production company regarding dispute over payments due under buy-out
  • Represented gas production company in dispute with another mineral leaseholder on large tract of gas producing property
  • Represented holder of 27,000 acres of mineral interests in dispute arising out of alleged damage to its minerals
  • Represented holder of 12,000 acres of mineral interests in dispute arising out of alleged damage to its minerals
  • Advised large gas production company in dispute over joint operating agreement and related rights
  • Successfully represented vendor of supplies and services in connection with claims for unpaid invoices against a large national pipeline construction contractor, obtaining payment
  • Defended gas production and distribution company against claims by pipeline construction company, successfully obtaining jury verdict on counterclaim
  • Successfully defended large gas production company against claims by coal operator related to construction and operation of a gas transportation pipeline
  • Successfully resolved claims against former shareholder of large coal company arising out of stock redemption
  • Represented parties opposed to permit sought to allow large coal operator to discharge waste mine water into mines and local waterway
  • Represented gas production company in connection with issues related to conflicts with coal operators under Virginia Gas and Oil Act
  • Represented various parties in connection with numerous issues related to mineral leases and deeds

Commercial Litigation

  • Obtained jury verdict in favor of client accused of breach of fiduciary duty, interference with contract, and other business torts. Jury granted judgment on counterclaim in favor of client for conversion
  • Successfully represented real estate developer in enforcing contract for purchase of resort acreage where final contract had not yet been fully executed
  • Obtained jury verdict in favor of seller of large farm in Shenandoah Valley
  • Successfully resolved litigation asserting claims against purchaser of $275 million real estate portfolio
  • Successfully represented national bank on claims against former shareholder/director for fraud
  • Successfully represented minority shareholders in shareholder derivative lawsuit
  • Represented trademark holder against infringer, obtaining judgment for damages associated with pirated products
  • Represented numerous parties in D&O Claims arising out of corporate governance
  • Represented minority shareholder in claims against majority shareholder who had allegedly diluted stock
  • Represented Officer, Director and former Shareholder in claims by bankrupt corporation
  • Represented Trust beneficiary in claims against trustees of large estate
  • Represented numerous parties in estate litigation

Catastrophic Injury and Complex Tort Litigation

  • Successful representation for qui tam whistleblower case against Duke University alleging research grant fraud resulting in $112.5 million settlement, the largest in U.S. history
  • Lead trial counsel for Rolling Stone magazine in defamation case regarding UVA false rape claim, Eramo v. Rolling Stone
  • Successfully represented many clients in claims arising from contaminated steroid injections
  • Obtained jury verdict in favor of client in complicated construction case
  • Negotiated global settlement on behalf of Virginia injured parties in Multi-District Litigation case


  • Past Member, Boyd Graves Society
  • Barrister, The Ted Dalton American Inn of Court (Emeritus status)
  • Former Faculty, Virginia State Bar Professionalism course
  • Member, Business Law Section, Virginia Bar Association
  • Member, Intellectual Property Section, Virginia Bar Association
  • Member, Civil Litigation Section, Virginia Bar Association
  • Past Member, 8th District Ethics Committee, Virginia State Bar
  • Senior Fellow, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Litigation Counsel of America


  • Named one of Virginia’s Go To Lawyers in the area of Business Litigation by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2023)
  • Named a Virginia Leader in the Law by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2010)
  • Named one of The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Commercial Litigation (2008-2024) and Oil & Gas Law (2009-2021), also listed in Best Lawyers in America – Business Edition (2016)
  • Named to Virginia Super Lawyers in the area of Business Litigation (2007-2023), included in Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel edition (2010) and Super Lawyers Business Edition US in the area of Business Litigation (2012-2014)
  • Named a “Legal Eagle” for Commercial Litigation and Oil & Gas Law by Virginia Living magazine (2012)
  • Designated as one of the Legal Elite in the field of Civil Litigation (2008-2010, 2012-2015, 2019-2020, 2022-2023), Intellectual Property (2003-06), and Commercial Litigation (2021) by Virginia Business magazine
Scott Sexton, Gentry Locke Litigation Partner