An appeal demands a very different skill set as compared to an attorney’s work on a case at the trial court or administrative tribunal level. While a trial lawyer must be well prepared to manage the discovery process and persuade the jury at trial, an appellate lawyer must be particularly adept at reading and distilling a written record, understanding the impact of the procedural posture at which the case was decided, researching the substantive law in order to design legal arguments aimed at achieving victory on appeal, and then presenting those legal arguments to judges unfamiliar with the case in a concise and persuasive appellate brief. An appellate lawyer must also be skilled at oral argument, which involves presenting the key facts and legal arguments to a panel of judges and adeptly answering any questions they may interject.
Legal research and writing lie at the heart of an appellate lawyer’s work, and because of this, Stembridge Taylor is well equipped to handle civil appeals in state and federal courts throughout Georgia. We also consult on appeals throughout the country with lawyers licensed in the state where the appeal is pending. For Lisa, her years as an academic prepared her well to readily understand the procedural rules that govern the appellate process as well as the procedural developments at the trial court that bear on the appeal and enabled her to quickly learn the substantive law in a wide array of topical areas. In addition, her experience teaching honed her skill at distilling complex principles into simple terms, which is important for convincing appellate court judges who want to make the right decision but are short on time and saddled with heavy caseloads.
Our firm’s recent appellate experience includes work on a number of cases raising a variety of important and sometimes complex substantive and procedural issues:
- lead appellate counsel in a case raising an issue of first impression under Georgia’s new Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, which resulted in a favorable reversal for our client at the Georgia Court of Appeals and clarified the law for trial courts to apply in the future
- lead appellate counsel in a case raising an issue of first impression under the Georgia Department of Labor’s emergency rules promulgated in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (still pending)
- sole briefing responsibility in a case appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit after the district court granted summary judgment, presenting novel legal theories based on a drug manufacturer’s failure to inform and failure to warn as the cause of a patient’s drug-exposure injury
- primary briefing responsibility in the Georgia Court of Appeals on a motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction due to the opponent’s failure to follow proper appeal procedures, and primary briefing responsibility on the opponent’s petition for a writ of certiorari to the Georgia Supreme Court after the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal
- lead counsel in a case raising claims of discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation under the Americans With Disabilities Act, then pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which ended with a settlement favorable to our client
- primary briefing responsibility in the Georgia Court of Appeals in a zoning case won on summary judgment at the trial court
- primary briefing responsibility in a Georgia Court of Appeals case challenging a trial court’s judgment on a jury verdict awarding contractual liquidated damages against a non-contracting party and finding fraud in the absence of sufficient evidence to support it
- lead counsel on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after the district court granted summary judgment, dismissing claims against a major bank arising out of its failure to comply with the terms of a security deed prior to initiating foreclosure proceedings
- substantial briefing responsibility in the Georgia Court of Appeals regarding whether a limited-scope arbitration provision in an LLC Operating Agreement interferes with the parties’ rights to pursue enforcement of their contractual rights under the Agreement in a judicial forum