Appellate advocacy requires a unique set of skills: you must distill complicated and often voluminous trial proceedings into a 30-page brief and a 20-minute oral argument. Our appellate lawyers know the game. We have substantial experience challenging and defending trial rulings on appeal—ranging from big jury verdicts to thorny questions of statutory or constitutional interpretation.
An appeal is not a second trial. In an appeal, you must present your case in the most persuasive and accessible way. Whether your matter involves a contract, torts, securities, labor and employment, antitrust, or constitutional law, Alston & Bird’s appellate lawyers have handled countless precedent-setting cases in state and federal courts of appeals across the country. More than 35 of our appellate lawyers clerked for federal or state appellate judges, giving us a window into how appeals courts in different jurisdictions interpret the law. That knowledge is crucial to developing focused, reasoned arguments in an appeal.
Regardless of whether we handled your case in the trial court, our appellate lawyers review every aspect of your case with fresh eyes. By scrutinizing the facts and relevant laws, we develop strategies for preserving or challenging the ruling below. Our clients also benefit from the strategic advice our appellate litigators regularly share with them—even before a matter reaches the appellate stage. In addition to representing our clients as parties to appeals, we are often called on by leading business organizations and trade associations to file amicus curiae briefs that advance our clients’ interests and assist appellate courts in understanding the real issues at play in complex areas of law.
The appellate courts, through their published opinions, shape the law across the country. The stakes are high. We have the people to handle those important matters. Alston & Bird’s team of appellate lawyers brings years of success in state and federal appellate courts, as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court, protecting our clients’ interests and the rule of law.
Appellate decisions are the lifeblood of the law. Far more than decisions on individual cases, the published opinions of our appellate courts establish precedents for future disputes. Appellate practice presents the skilled advocate with a unique opportunity to shape the law. At Alston & Bird, we have the talent and experience to seize that opportunity for our clients.
With dozens of lawyers who served as law clerks for federal or state appellate court judges, we know how the appellate process works. We routinely litigate appeals in state and federal courts nationwide in cases running the gamut of subject areas—contracts, torts, securities, employment, antitrust, constitutional law, and everything in between. Our lawyers often file amicus curiae briefs on behalf of clients to protect their interests and assist appellate courts in complex cases. And we regularly advise our clients on potential appellate issues, even before a case reaches the appellate stage.
Bringing Value to Our Clients
At Alston & Bird, an appeal is never just the next phase of litigation. We know that appellate advocacy is a discrete discipline that requires a unique set of skills. Cases that may have been developed over years of litigation and in trials lasting for days or weeks must be distilled to a 15-minute argument and a 30-page brief. Success requires melding subject-matter expertise with crisp writing and oral advocacy. On that score, our track record speaks for itself:
Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. LLC v. Owens, No. 13-719 (U.S.). Petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court and then argued the case and convinced the Court to rule in our clients’ favor on the merits. The Court clarified that a defendant seeking removal to federal court need not include evidence of federal jurisdiction in its notice of removal; allegations of federal jurisdiction suffice. The Court also rejected the so-called “presumption” against removing cases to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act.
Random Ventures v. Remington (2nd Cir.). Served as lead appellate counsel in a complex commercial dispute that arose after Random Ventures was sold to Remington Arms. The trial court in the Southern District of New York found that Remington breached the agreement and ruled in favor of our clients. We convinced the Second Circuit to affirm the lower court’s decision, securing a $10 million judgment for our clients, including awarding earn-out payments due under the parties’ contracts, lost salary, and attorneys’ fees, and retroactively invalidating certain restrictive covenants in our client’s employment agreement.
Freedom Medical v. State Farm (Pa.). We argued a certified question before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which was a result of a strategy we implemented to get a favorable Third Circuit ruling, and it was answered in our favor. Subsequently, we secured an appellate victory in the Third Circuit in a case that was widely reported and watched by auto insurers throughout the state because it involved price gouging by durable medical equipment providers under medical payments coverage.
Dutta v. State Farm. We won summary judgment in the district court on an FCRA class action set for oral argument in the Ninth Circuit. This case is being monitored by lawyers nationwide because it tees up a key standing issue for corporate defendants in class action matters that recently was addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Spokeo case—what constitutes actual harm to a plaintiff.
Viad Corp. v. U.S. Steel, No. A17A0937 (Ga. App. Oct. 31, 2017). Our appellate team obtained a full reversal of summary judgment from the Georgia Court of Appeals in a multimillion-dollar environmental clean-up case. After a Dougherty County judge entered summary judgment making Viad responsible for the full cost of extensive land remediation, trial counsel hired Alston & Bird to appeal. The court agreed with us on every issue raised.
Clark v. State Farm, 131 A.3d 806 (Del. 2016). The Supreme Court of Delaware affirmed a dismissal on the pleadings of a class action alleging that State Farm violated the Delaware prompt payment statute in paying PIP claims. Alston & Bird (Wallace) served as class and appellate counsel.