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While a case decided in a trial court can have a tremendous impact, a decision in an appellate court can create a rule of law affecting not only that individual case but a company’s business or businesses in an entire industry. Determining whether and how to appeal an adverse trial outcome requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Dickinson Wright’s appellate lawyers have years of experience handling cases in appellate courts and tribunals throughout the United States and Canada, at every level. Whether seeking to overturn a judgment or defend a victory in the trial court, our group brings that experience to bear to help our clients increase their chances of prevailing on appeal.

Exceptional Advocacy

Dickinson Wright’s appellate lawyers identify, distill, and analyze complex legal questions and present them in a straightforward, engaging, and understandable fashion. We have a thorough understanding of review standards and the specialized rules and procedures under which appellate courts operate, and we know how to write briefs and present oral arguments that will resonate with appellate judges.

Our appellate lawyers also regularly monitor legal trends in the appellate courts across the country and study the jurisprudence of individual judges. We employ that knowledge and our vast experience to our clients’ advantage.

Our Appellate group includes former law clerks from a number of U.S. Courts of Appeals, state supreme courts, and intermediate state appellate courts. Several of our lawyers have been recognized by Best Lawyers for their appellate expertise.

Appellate Strategy and Consultation

Sometimes devising an appellate strategy is necessary in the early stages of a case. When matters of first impression, unsettled laws, and complex facts make an appeal all but certain, it is essential at trial to make a proper record of critical evidence, arguments, and objections for appellate review. Our group routinely works with trial counsel on dispositive pre-trial motions, interlocutory appeals, major evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and post-judgment motions – always with an eye toward future appellate proceedings.

In addition to pursuing appeals for clients we’ve represented from the onset of litigation, our lawyers often are retained to provide consultation services to other law firms that require expertise either to preserve appellate issues at the trial court level or to assist with an appeal.

Amicus Briefing

Increasingly, appellate judges indicate that they welcome friend of the court (amicus) briefs from nonparties that can shed light on the broader issues that might be implicated in an appeal. Our Appellate group is regularly called upon to draft amicus briefs for companies, individuals, industry associations, and others with an interest in important legal issues, but who are not parties to an appeal.

Substantive Law Expertise

Combining broad business law and litigation expertise, our appellate lawyers have briefed and argued a range of cases – from high-stakes, bet-the-company matters to those involving lower stakes but that are no less important to our clients. Those appeals have involved an equally-wide variety of issues, including:

  • Administrative Law 
  • Family Law 
  •  Antitrust
  •  Health Law
  •  Bankruptcy
  •  Insurance
  •  Business Torts
  •  Patents & Intellectual Property
  •  Class Actions
  •  Personal Injury
  •  Commercial Contracts
  •  Professional Liability
  •  Constitutional Law
  •  Tax Issues
  •  Consumer Claims
  •  Telecommunications
  •  Employment & Immigration Law
  •  Tort & Product Liability
  •  Environmental Law
  •  Zoning & Land Use

To learn more about Dickinson Wright’s Appellate practice, please check out the firm’s Appellate Attorney Guide.

Representative Cases

Federal Appellate Courts

• Gagan v. Monroe, 649 Fed. Appx. 396 (9th Cir. 2016) (reversing dismissal of claim to enforce judgment from another jurisdiction)

• Williams v. Cent. Transp. Int'l, Inc., 830 F.3d 773 (8th Cir. 2016) (affirming that class plaintiff was exempt from FLSA overtime provisions and, therefore, was not entitled to receive overtime pay)

• Loffredo v. Daimler AG, 666 Fed. Appx. 370 (6th Cir. Nov. 8, 2016) (affirming dismissal of state-law age discrimination claim as preempted by ERISA)

• Learning Annex Holdings, L.L.C. v. Cashflow Technologies, Inc., 652 Fed. Appx. 67 (2d Cir. 2016) (affirming lower court decision vacating a $15 million jury verdict on a quasi-contractual claim brought under New York law)

• Knight v. Climbing Magazine, 615 Fed. Appx. 574 (9th Cir. 2015) (affirming dismissal of defamation and related claims arising from an allegedly defamatory magazine article)

• Kreipke v. Wayne State Univ., 807 F.3d 768 (6th Cir. 2015) (affirming dismissal of qui tam action on the basis of sovereign immunity)

• Chambers v. HSBC Bank U.S.A., N.A., 796 F.3d 560 (6th Cir. 2015) (affirming dismissal of mortgage-foreclosure related fraud claim)

• In re Imes, 778 F.3d 1250 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (reversing Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision that affirmed the rejection of a patent application directed toward a device for communicating digital camera images and video information over a network)

• Oklahoma v. Hobia, 775 F.3d 1204 (10th Cir. 2014) (reversing order enjoining the construction and operation of an Indian tribal casino under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act)

• Va Bene Trist, L.L.C. v. Washington Mut. Bank, 556 Fed. Appx. 647 (9th Cir. 2014) (affirming bankruptcy court decision permitting enforcement of mortgage loan servicer’s property lien)

• SFS Check, L.L.C. v. First Bank of Delaware, 774 F.3d 351 (6th Cir. 2014) (affirming dismissal of fraud and negligence claims against a bank arising out of a third party’s opening of an account in the plaintiff’s name and using it to process illegal gambling transactions)

• Brown v. Ajax Paving Industries, Inc., 752 F.3d 656 (6th Cir. 2014) (affirming dismissal of RICO claims)

• Pipefitters Local 636 Ins. Fund v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mich., 722 F.3d 861 (6th Cir. 2013) (reversing order certifying a class of multiemployer health and welfare benefits funds alleging violations of ERISA and Michigan law)

• Libertarian Party of Mich. v. Mich. Sec. of State, 714 F.3d 929 (6th Cir. 2013) (affirming district court’s decision upholding constitutionality of state law preventing a candidate who has run in and lost a party primary from running as a candidate of another party in the subsequent general election)

• Hoffman v. Ford Motor Co., 493 Fed. Appx. 962 (10th Cir. 2012) (reversing multi-million dollar jury verdict due to improper admission of expert testimony)

• Coyer v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc., 701 F.3d 1104 (6th Cir. 2012) (affirming dismissal of claim against mortgage servicer for violation of the Truth in Lending Act)

State Supreme Court and Intermediate Appellate Courts

• Digital Systems Engineering, Inc. v. Moreno, ___ P.3d ___ (Ariz. App. 1st Div. 2017) (vacating writ of garnishment)

• Van Buren Twp. v. Visteon Corp., ___ N.W.2d ___ (Mich. App. 2017) (affirming dismissal of declaratory judgment and breach of contract action for lack of ripeness)

• U.S. Bank N.A. v. Koodrich, ___ N.E.3d ___ (Ohio. App. 8th Dist. 2017) (affirming mortgage foreclosure judgment)

• Coombs v. Maricopa County Special Health Care Dist., 387 P.3d 743 (Ariz. App. 1st Div. 2016) (finding that trial court lacked jurisdiction to review administrative employment decision)

• Detroit Free Press v. Univ. of Mich. Regents, 889 N.W.2d 717 (Mich. App. 2016) (affirming dismissal of claims alleging violations of the Michigan Open Meetings Act and the Michigan Constitution)

• Lynn v. Provident Life and Acc. Ins. Co., 2016 WL 6638601 (Mich. App. Nov. 8, 2016) (affirming circuit court’s holding that forgivable employee loan constitutes “earned income” for purposes of determining loss of earnings under disability policy)

• Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., 354 P.3d 424 (Ariz. App. 1st Div. 2015) (affirming dismissal of negligence claim against homebuilder because no tort duty arose from governing statutes, regulations, or municipal building code)

• DiLuigi v. RBS Citizens, N.A., 864 N.W.2d 146 (Mich. 2015) (reversing adverse court of appeals decision imposing requirements for commencing a foreclosure by advertisement that went beyond the language of the governing statute)

• Bank of New York Mellon v. Jaafar, 865 N.W.2d 39 (Mich. 2015) (reversing judgment enforcing purported settlement agreement)

• Cotton v Banks, 872 N.W.2d 1 (Mich App. 2015) (clarifying scope of immunity provided under the Michigan Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause as applied to claims against a legislator for actions taken within the legislative sphere)

• In re Estate of Feldman, No. 66254, 2015 WL 4660125 (Nev. Aug. 5, 2015) (reversing a lower court decision revoking a holographic will from probate)

• Patterson v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co., No. M201401675COAR9CV, 2015 WL 5320231 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 11, 2015) (reversing trial court and holding, in a matter of first impression, that statute stating that every insurer offering homeowner property insurance in state shall “make available” coverage for insurable sinkhole losses on any dwelling does not require insurers to expressly offer or otherwise notify policyholders that they could purchase sinkhole coverage)

• Davis v. Covenant Presbyterian Church of Nashville, No. M201402400COAR9CV, 2015 WL 5766685 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 30, 2015) (reversing trial court and dismissing $35 million complaint on the grounds that pastor’s statements in an email to parishioners were not capable of conveying a defamatory meaning and did not constitute “outrageous conduct”)

• Fisher v. Edgerton, 336 P.3d 167 (Ariz. App. 1st Div. 2014) (upholding award of attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, and taxable costs)

• Addison Twp v. Barnhart, 845 N.W.2d 88 (Mich. 2014) (reversing court of appeals opinion against a shooting range, greatly expanding statutory protection for such ranges)

• Rental Properties Owners Ass’n of Kent Co. v. Kent Co. Treasurer, 866 N.W.2d 817 (Mich. App. 2014) (affirming dismissal of actions seeking to invalidate tax deeds)

• New Products Corp. v. Harbor Shores, et al., 866 N.W.2d 850 (Mich. App. 2014) (affirming circuit court’s order striking jury demand in action to determine title to real property)

• Georges Tannoury, MD, PC v. Stacey Kokopelli Med., P.C., No. 58321, 2014 WL 1270582 (Nev. Mar. 26, 2014) (reversing lower court decision granting a new trial following a $500,000 jury award in an action for breach of a covenant not to compete)

• Michigan Geosearch, Inc. v. Prosperity Bancshares, Inc., No. 61672, 2014 WL 495361 (Nev. Jan. 27, 2014) (affirming a lower court decision setting aside a $550,000 default judgment on multiple procedural grounds)

• Little v. Real Living HER, No. 13AP-924, 2014 WL 7274227 (Ohio App. 10th Dist. Dec. 23, 2014) (affirming dismissal of claim for tortious interference with a contract for the sale of property)

• Hardaway v. Wayne Co., 835 N.W.2d 336 (Mich. 2013) (reversing court of appeals opinion against Wayne County involving pension benefits)

• Protect Our Jobs v. Board of State Canvassers, 822 N.W.2d 534 (Mich. 2012) (upholding challenge to ballot initiative relating to proposed new casinos)

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