Appellate Law Firm
Appellate law firms like Lipson Neilson help clients navigate the appeal process
An appellate lawyer handles the process of appealing a lower court's decision after a higher court has reviewed the decision of a lower court. Appeals may happen in a civil or criminal case after trial, or after dismissal of a case. Appeals may happen in a civil or criminal case after trial, or after dismissal of a case. Appellate law firms specialize in these types of cases. They will review your case and will help determine the legal grounds for an appeal.
The Lipson Neilson appellate law attorneys have handled hundreds of appeals, including matters pending before the United States Supreme Court, the Sixth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, the Nevada Supreme Court, the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Michigan Court of Appeals.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
On July 22, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision affirming the Federal District Court order granting both a motion to dismiss and a motion for attorney's fees filed by attorneys Joe Garin, Megan Hummel and Amber Williams in a lawsuit brought by an insurance company against an attorney in violation of Nevada's anti-SLAPP statute.
The dispute arose from Plaintiff's decision to deny coverage to an insured who had been named as a defendant in a catastrophic personal injury lawsuit. After a state court judge entered an $18 million default judgment against the insured, Plaintiff was named in a bad faith action pursuant to a valid assignment of rights from its insured to the injured party. To avoid liability, Plaintiff filed a separate lawsuit against the attorneys involved in the personal injury action, asserting that they violated Nevada's RICO statutes and engaged in a conspiracy by negotiating a settlement and covenant not to execute after Plaintiff refused to provide a defense.
The Federal District Court granted dismissal with prejudice in favor of the attorneys pursuant to NRS 41.660, a statute which prohibits Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or "SLAPP suits." The District court also granted a subsequent motion for attorney's fees.
On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court orders, finding that:
- The attorneys established the communications at issue were made in good faith and without knowledge of falsehood.
- That Plaintiff was not entitled to conduct discovery as "[t]he problem with Plaintiff's complaint [was] not the sufficiency of the allegations, but the very nature of the allegations – that they target protected communications in an effort to suppress those communications."
- That the district court correctly awarded attorney's fees pursuant to the penalty provisions of the anti-SLAPP statute.
Michigan Court of Appeals
Plaintiff initially attempted to intervene in a pending case involving the real property which Lipson Neilson successfully opposed. Plaintiff subsequently filed a separate action for wrongful eviction, quantum meruit, and to quiet title regarding the same property which Lipson Neilson successfully disposed of via a dispositive motion.
Plaintiff appealed both decisions to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Plaintiff argued the intervention was improperly denied and that the dispositive motion was improperly granted.
The Court of Appeals disagreed with the plaintiff and agreed with Lipson Neilson, finding the evidence presented by Lipson Neilson in support of its motion for summary disposition conclusively established Lipson Neilson’s client’s superior right to the subject property as against all others and, therefore, the plaintiff lacked a viable cause of action.
Michigan Supreme Court
In the case of Kostadinovski v Harrington, the Michigan Supreme Court granted oral argument on the parties’ application and cross-application for leave to appeal. The Court also invited participation by Michigan Defense Trial Counsel (MDTC) as amicus curiae.
The MDTC selected C. Thomas Ludden and Karen A. Smyth, Partners of the Lipson Neilson law firm, to draft the amicus brief on their behalf in support of the defendant’s application (click here to view amicus brief.)
Primarily at issue in Kostadinovski is how a plaintiff in a medical malpractice action can amend the complaint to include newly discovered claims, while complying with the notice of intent statute, MCL 600.2912b. The Court of Appeals, in a published opinion, had held that the trial court should have engaged in an analysis to determine whether the original notice of intent could be amended or if any defect in the notice should be disregarded, although this issue was not raised in the trial court.
MDTC’s amicus brief submitted that the Court of Appeals should not have relied on an argument raised for the first time on appeal. Addressing the issue of amendment, the brief submitted that the statutory language should be interpreted to require a plaintiff to serve a new notice of intent describing the new claims before pursuing those claims in an ongoing medical malpractice lawsuit.
Such an interpretation serves the goals of the notice statute. In contrast, allowing amendment of an existing notice of intent or simply disregarding the defect should not be permitted, as the substantial rights of the defendant would be impacted.
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