Sedgwick’s appellate lawyers represent clients at every level of the federal and state appellate court systems. Our seasoned appellate team is led by a member of the select California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and includes five attorneys certified as appellate specialists by the California and Texas Boards of Legal Specialization.
We represent new clients who turn to Sedgwick after suffering adverse outcomes and defend trial court victories secured by the firm’s outstanding litigators. Our appellate team members bring savvy, experience and creativity to the table. All have practiced in the trial courts, allowing them to better understand the pressures and problems besetting the trial lawyer. They apply the sensible, big picture view to appellate practice, including planning and coordinating high-end strategy.
Consulting During Trial
Clients often ask why they should retain an appellate specialist when the trial attorney is already familiar with the case. Appeals can be won or lost long before the notice of appeal is filed. The failure to object, preserve the record or raise an issue can sink a client’s chances of success. Sedgwick’s appellate strategists help trial counsel identify key issues, preserve objections, and draft key dispositive motions, offers of proof and even trial briefs. We know when and how to assist in making the best possible record to maximize the chances of success should the need for an appeal arise.
Grooming Test Cases
When the issue may affect an entire industry, or set the stage for other cases, our appellate team seeks out cases that are best positioned to test the issue. Often, the goal is a published opinion with precedential value. The test case must have the right kind of facts, with the minimum of procedural distractions. Venue—at trial and on appeal—is evaluated, along with a host of other factors geared to maximizing chances on appeal. That’s where Sedgwick’s big-picture appellate strategists come in.
Briefing and Oral Arguments
Writing is all-important in appellate advocacy. Yet Sedgwick lawyers excel not only in the written word, but in oral argument. Thoughtful, clear, powerful and persuasive briefing and oral presentation is a priceless talent which Sedgwick appellate attorneys have demonstrated in abundance.
Our appellate practice embraces the widest possible array of issues, including major matters involving:
- Punitive damages, including excessive punitive damage awards, the constitutionality of California’s retroactive revival of punitive damages on time-barred claims, and the imposition of punitive damages on successor corporations
- Insurance coverage and bad faith, including availability of “bad faith” tort damages in actions for non-claims handling related conduct brought by insureds against insurers
- Daubert and the admissibility of “junk science” expert testimony in state and federal courts
- State and federal constitutional law, including establishment, due process, equal protection and commerce clause issues
- Healthcare, managed care and ERISA
- Products liability, including medical device and pharmaceutical
- Business torts, fraud, tortious interference, and unfair competition
- Construction defect litigation
- Malicious prosecution and anti-SLAPP motions
- Employment law and civil rights issues, including retaliation, discrimination and harassment
- Complex statute of limitations issues in multi-defendant tort actions
- Application of the litigation privilege to libel claims against attorneys
- A physician’s right to assert his patient’s right to medical record confidentiality
- Federal preemption of state law tort claims against defendants in a variety of industries
- Standards for awarding medical monitoring damages in “fear of cancer” tort cases
Sedgwick’s appellate team brings expertise to the procedural minefield of post-trial motions, an often overlooked but potentially powerful tool in a party’s arsenal. We provide objectivity when it comes to evaluating whether to appeal, what issues to raise, and how to frame them for maximum effect. We speak the appellate court’s language and understand its agenda, a language and agenda markedly different from the trial proceeding.
Sedgwick’s appellate lawyers are prolific authors, and regularly publish their appellate insights on two blogs, The Appellate Strategist and the Illinois Supreme Court Review