Appellate Practice

Hundreds of exhibits and testimony from dozens of witnesses distilled to 50 pages and 15 minutes of argument.

An appeal can be either a “last chance” to undo an unfortunate judgment or a struggle to preserve a hard-fought victory.  Appellate practice is a distinct discipline requiring experienced practitioners and the highest quality of analysis, research and writing.  Over the years, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP has represented clients before the United States Supreme Court and federal and state appellate courts across the country in appeals covering a wide variety of substantive areas of the law. SGR formed its Appellate Practice Group to provide clients with the highest level of professional service in the handling of appeals.  Our Appellate Practice Group handles appeals in all courts and works with other trial attorneys on appeals.  It serves existing clients, clients who come to us for the first time to handle appeals, and clients seeking to participate in appeals as “friends of the court.”

Appellate Successes:

Pui-Kwong Chan v. Baizhen Yang, Case No. 2016-1214 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (affirming Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s rejection of challenge to client’s patent application)

Bridges, Gonzalez and Alanis v. Empire Scaffold, LLC, Case No. 16-41493 (5th Cir. 2017) (affirming summary judgment in favor of SGR client under Fair Labor Standards Act)

In re GT Automation Group, Inc., 828 F.3d 602 (7th Cir. 2016) (adopting client’s position that appellant, as general unsecured creditor, lacked standing to appeal order at issue)

Old Republic National Title Ins. Co. v. RM Kids, LLC, 337 Ga. App. 638, 788 S.E.2d 542 (2016) (concluding that loss under lender’s title insurance policy is measured on date of foreclosure, not date the loan is made, reversing jury verdict)

In re Empire Scaffold, LLC, Case No. 09-16-00052-CV (Tex. Ct. App. 2016) (granting mandamus relief to client to strike petition to intervene in case against client)

Government  Employees Ins. Co. v. Kisha, 163 So.3d 1266 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015) (reversing judgment based on collateral estoppel entered against insurance company)

Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Kisha, 160 So.3d 549 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015) (reversing judgment against insurance company on basis that length of time an insured was insured with  company was not relevant and references to such constituted impermissible plea for sympathy to the jury)

Nicholas A. James v. Daniel K. Leigh and Kenny Leigh, P.A.,145 So. 3d 1006 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014) (reversing trial court’s denial of motion to dismiss defamation and breach of contract case with prejudice based on application of litigation privilege)

Town Sports International, LLC v. Ajilon Solutions, 112 A.D.3d 409, 976 N.Y.S.2d 53 (1st Dept. 2013) (reversing $3.3 million judgment against client on grounds that damages were speculative and not supported by evidence)

Presidio Networked Solutions, Inc. v. Taylor, 115 So.3d 434 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013) (reversing order requiring employer to retroactively reinstate employee’s health insurance policy without giving employer notice or opportunity to be heard)

Corey Airport Services, Inc. v. Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., 682 F.3d 1293 (11th Cir. 2012) (setting aside verdict that client had participated in conspiracy to improperly influence awarding of government contract)

Crossing Park Properties, LLC v. Archer Capital Fund, L.P., 311 Ga. App. 177, 715 S.E.2d 444 (2011) (reversing summary judgment against clients on contract and fraud claims)

Neal Parker, et al. v. Schmiede Machine & Tool Corp., et al., 230 Fed. Appx. 878 (11th Cir. 2011) (affirmed federal district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of client in toxic tort case alleging exposure to beryllium in defense aerospace manufacturing, concluding that the plaintiffs’ claims of duty to warn were barred by the “sophisticated user” defense, also known as the learned intermediary” doctrine, because the plaintiffs’ employer was a sophisticated user of beryllium; and affirmed the district court’s exclusion of the plaintiffs’ causation expert because the expert’s opinions were scientifically unreliable under Daubert)

R&J Murray, LLC v. Murray County, 653 S.E.2d 720 (2007), reconsideration denied 12/13/2007, cert. den’d 554 U.S. 935 (2008)  (in a case of first impression, initially reversed the grant of summary judgment to the plaintiff, then upheld ruling for clients that plaintiff did not have a vested property right to obtain a landfill permit, and that construing the client’s solid waste management plan to exclude new landfills in the county was not economic protectionism violative of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution)

City of Atlanta v. Clayton County Board of Tax Assessors, 284 Ga. App. 871, 645 S.E.2d 42 (2007) (concluding that land owned by City of Atlanta for purpose of developing fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was exempt from real property taxes)

In re Copper Antitrust Litigation, 439 F.3d 782 (7th Cir. 2006) (reversing dismissal of client’s complaint alleging that defendant participated in price-fixing conspiracy)

Hickson Corp. v. Norfolk Southern, 260 F.3d 559, 2001 and Nos. 03-5801; 03-5910; 03-5911 (2005) unpublished (reversed adverse judgment entered on a jury verdict in the Eastern District of Tennessee, then affirmed favorable jury verdict in second trial of environmental spill litigation)

Northpoint Technology, LTD. v. MDS America, Inc. and MDS International, S.A.R.L., 413 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (affirming finding of patent invalidity)

Hughey v. Gwinnett County, 278 Ga. 740 (2004)  (in a case of first impression, reversing trial and appellate rulings against clients and holding that Georgia law required defendant to utilize the “highest and best practicable level of treatment under existing technology” in order to discharge treated sewage into Lake Sidney Lanier)

Hickson Corp. v. Northern Crossarm Co., Inc., 357 F.3d 1256 (11th Cir. 2004) (reversing summary judgment against client on client’s false advertising claim against competitor)

Hughey v. JMS Development, 113 F.3d 1493 (11th Cir. 1997)  We had successfully sued a subdivision developer and established in the district court that discharges of sediment-laden stormwater from a construction site was prohibited under the federal Clean Water Act without a permit.  Although the 11th Circuit reversed the district court, it did so on very narrow grounds, holding that the CWA does not prohibit a discharge from a construction site where (1) compliance with the no discharge standard is factually impossible; (2) no NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit exists; (3) the discharger was in good-faith compliance with local pollution control requirements that substantially mirrored the proposed NPDES discharge standards; and (4) the discharges were minimal.  Our work on the case and related matters resulted in Georgia implementing strict stormwater permitting requirements for construction activities

State of Missouri ex rel. Classic III Incorporated v. Ely, 954 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. App. 1997) (case of first impression in Missouri, recognizing that client enjoyed reporter’s shield privilege in libel case under First Amendment)

In the matter of Munford, Inc., 98 F.3d 604 (11th Cir. 1996) (affirming summary judgment in favor of corporate director clients under business judgment rule)