Appellate

Dorsey has a long-standing reputation for effective and successful advocacy in the appellate courts. This appellate expertise, coupled with the outstanding skills of the firm’s trial attorneys, ensures that Dorsey can be a client’s one-stop for litigating any case from the trial court up to the highest court in the land. Indeed, over the past five years, Dorsey has litigated two cases from the initial filing of the complaint all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Moreover, Dorsey lawyers have substantial experience and a proven track-record of results in all levels and varieties of federal and state courts of appeals, including the United States Supreme Court, federal circuit courts, and state supreme and intermediate appellate courts. Our attorneys include veteran appellate practitioners, former appellate law clerks, and members of appellate bar associations.

Dorsey's appellate capabilities are enhanced by the knowledge and experience of all our diverse practice groups. Appellate attorneys collaborate with their colleagues in other practice groups, as well as trial counsel, to ensure the best service for our clients. Experience, along with thorough knowledge of the appellate process, results in an effective appellate strategy extending to all phases of the appeal:

  • Merits Briefing and Oral Argument: Dorsey’s attorneys have briefed and argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, all federal courts of appeal, and numerous state supreme and intermediate appellate courts. Appellate attorneys collaborate with trial counsel and colleagues from other relevant practice groups to craft the most compelling arguments on appeal.
  • Petitions for Discretionary Review: In addition to merits briefing, Dorsey’s appellate attorneys have a track record of success in petitioning (and opposing petitions) for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court; petitioning federal courts of appeals for rehearing en banc; and seeking review by state supreme courts.
  • Amicus Briefs: We understand that an appellate court’s holding can have consequences for our clients even when they are not a party to that lawsuit, and Dorsey has experience filing amicus briefs that raise our client’s concerns to the appellate court’s attention. Such briefs can play an important role in persuading the United States Supreme Court or state supreme courts to grant certiorari and hear a case, as well as an important role on the merits. Dorsey’s appellate attorneys have experience filing amicus briefs at both of these stages, as well as experience in coordinating amicus briefs when our clients are the party on appeal.
  • District Court Strategy and Appeal Assessment: Our appellate practitioners are able to provide counsel while a case is before the trial court to ensure that issues are preserved for appeal and to help craft a legal theory that can withstand appeal.

Representative Matters:

  • Successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari on behalf of a foreign state-owned railway regarding the interpretation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act’s commercial activity exception. OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs, 13-1067 (to be argued in 2015 Term).
  • Successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari and secured a unanimous decision by the Court in our client’s favor on a preemption issue. National Meat Association v. Harris, 132 S. Ct. 965 (2012).
  • Secured rehearing en banc before the Seventh Circuit in Webster v. Caraway, No. 14-1049 (7th Cir.), a rarity less likely to occur than having a petition for a writ of certiorari granted by the Supreme Court, per the Seventh Circuit ‘s Practitioner’s Handbook for Appeals.
  • Tenth Circuit affirmance of summary judgment ruling in favor of our client on Lanham Act dispute. Water Pik, Inc. v. Med-Systems, Inc., 726 F.3d 1136 (10th Cir. 2013).
  • Affirmance by the Eighth Circuit of dismissal of putative class action. E-Shops Corp. v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 678 F.3d 659 (8th Cir. 2012).
  • Seventh Circuit affirmance of district court’s dismissal of ERISA case because the insurers had not acted in a “fiduciary capacity.” Larson v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., 723 F.3d 905 (7th Cir. 2013).
  • Second Circuit holding that the suit against Dorsey’s client, the Republic of Peru, should be dismissed on grounds of forum non conveniens, notwithstanding the State Department’s contrary position. Figueiredo Ferraz e Engenhario de Projecto Ltda. v. Republic of Peru, 665 F.3d 384 (2d Cir. 2011).
  • Affirmance by the Third Circuit of the dismissal of a putative class action on Article III standing grounds. Reilly v. Ceridian Corp., 664 F.3d 38 (3d Cir. 2011).
  • Composed and filed an amicus brief on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians and Native American Finance Officers Association in support of petitions for a writ of certiorari that were granted by the United States Supreme Court. Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak & Salazar v. Patchak, Nos. 11-246 & 11-247 (Sup. Ct.).
  • Filed an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on the merits in support of Respondents in Bowman v. Monsanto, No. 11-796 (Sup. Ct.). The Court delivered a unanimous opinion for Respondent, consistent with our client’s interests.

Please contact us for more information on the Appellate practice group at Dorsey.

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