Appellate Practice Attorneys
If trials are hand-to-hand combat, appeals are chess matches demanding equally different skill sets. Convincing a judge or a panel of judges that a trial decision was wrong or right requires the ability to boil down what may be a sprawling mass of testimony and other evidence into a concise and comprehensible record. It also requires an ability to make strategic decisions about the issues most likely to get the attention of the appellate court and formulate legally sound and persuasive arguments.
Experience in Regional Appellate Courts
Appellate procedures require thorough knowledge of the rules and practices of the appeals courts, from the deadlines for notices to the required colors of brief covers. The limitations on the length of briefs put a premium on precise and selective argument. Our appellate practice attorneys bring this knowledge to many venues, including state appeals courts in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and federal appeals courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
One result of any contested case is a disappointed party convinced the decision was wrong. Whether trial counsel agrees or not, there is value in appellate counsel providing an objective and practical perspective on whether an appeal is worth the additional investment. Our attorneys consistently deliver that value.
We are often brought in to handle the appeals of decisions in trials handled by other counsel. We welcome the opportunity to make our skill sets available to evaluate and pursue appeals when the hand-to-hand combat turns into a chess match.
Argued the appeal and drafted the brief of appelant. The Fourth Circuit held, in a civil RICO claim under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(a) , that the plantiff's injury need not derive solely from the use of the investment funds, but may also arise from the fraudulent activity, itself. The court also, sua sponte, sitting en banc, reversed a previous panel holding and found that, in a section 1962(a) claim, the racketeering enterprise and defendant may be the same entity.
Lead counsel for the appellee and argued the appeal for the appellee before the Fourth Circuit. The court found that a trademark based upon an abbreviation (acronym) was not infringed by the use of a longer phrase from which abbreviation was derived. The court also found that there was no confusion caused by the appellee's use of larger descriptive phrase from which the appellant's trademark abbreviation was based.
Principal drafter of the brief of appellee. The D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of claims based on plaintiff's failure to respond to discovery and established the standards for invalidating wills in the District of Columbia based on allegations of fraud and undue duress.
Drafted the brief of the amicus curiae. The Ninth Circuit adopted the reasoning in the amicus curie brief and extended the psychotherapist-patient testimonial privilege to employee assistance professionals.
- Potomac Electric Co. v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, etc., 606 F.2d 1324 (D.C. Cir. 1979)
Argued the appeal before the D.C. Circuit and drafted the brief of appellant before that court and the brief of the respondant before the United States Supreme Court. The D.C. Circuit held that, in a federal workmen's compensation case, an injured employee was entitled to the greater of the benefit for the loss of the use of a scheduled body part or the formula benefit for all other injuries. The United States Supreme Court reversed that decision.
Principal drafter of the brief of intervener. The court adopted the arguments in the intervener's brief and upheld the board's determination that a railroad's rates in conjunction with a bottleneck movement were unreasonable.
Argued the appeal and drafted the brief of appellant. The Virginia Court of Appeals reversed the trial court for taking into account the value of an equitable distribution award in determining the amount of spousal support awarded to the wife.
- American Bar Association, September 19, 2019