Scott Chesin is a partner in the Supreme Court & Appellate practice in Mayer Brown's New York office. He handles appeals in state and federal courts throughout the country, and he regularly partners with trial lawyers at Mayer Brown and at other firms to develop legal strategies applicable to all phases of litigation: pre-trial, trial, post-trial, and appeal. Scott has experience litigating a wide variety of substantive legal issues; his particular areas of interest are product liability defense, punitive damages, and criminal defense. According to Legal 500, Scott is an "appellate specialist" who comes "highly recommended" by clients. In 2013, the New York Law Journal named Scott to its list of "Rising Stars" - lawyers under 40 who are "top contributors to the practice of law and their communities." He has been listed as an appellate "Rising Star" by New York Super Lawyers since 2014. Also in 2014, he was appointed by the Second Circuit to its Criminal Justice Act panel, through which he accepts court appointments to represent indigent criminal defendants on appeal.
Scott's appellate practice is national in scope, with a particular focus on New York and Florida-based matters: since joining Mayer Brown in 2004, Scott has briefed or argued appeals in the New York Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Second and Eleventh Circuits, the New York Appellate Divisions for the First and Second Departments, and Florida Fourth and Fifth District Courts of Appeal. Scott has authored over 100 appellate briefs filed in courts all around the country (including in the US Supreme Court, six US Courts of Appeals, and multiple state appellate courts).
In addition to handling purely appellate matters, Scott regularly briefs and argues complex issues at the trial-court level. In the past four years, Scott has served as lead legal strategy counsel during 20 high-stakes jury trials. In addition, he has handled pre-trial motions practice and appellate preservation for over a dozen other cases that have either gone to trial or been resolved prior to trial. As legal strategy counsel before and during trials, Scott handles all aspects of appellate preservation, including drafting and arguing motions in limine, dispositive motions, directed-verdict and post-trial motions, proposed jury instructions and verdict forms, and exhibit objections. Scott regularly publishes and lectures on the subject of appellate preservation.
Scott received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar and a member of the Law Review. He received his A.B., cum laude in History, from Harvard College, where he won the Wendell Phillips Prize for the most promising orator in his class. Following graduation from law school, Scott served as a law clerk to Judge Pierre N. Leval of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Civil appellate matters:
- Remet Corporation v. The Estate of Pyne, No. 129 (N.Y. Ct. App. 2015): Briefed and argued appeal concerning the scope and meaning of contractual indemnification clauses in environmental cleanup cases. The lower court had held that our client was not entitled to indemnification for environmental cleanup costs associated with a Superfund site; in a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals reversed and held that our client was entitled to full indemnification.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Mylan, No. 13-3437-cv (2d Cir. 2014): Briefed and argued appeal for Bristol-Myers Squibb regarding contract dispute with generic drug manufacturer. The lower court had dismissed our client’s complaint for failure to state a claim; the Second Circuit unanimously reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
- Kestenbaum v. Durez Corp., Nos. 190421/11, 190143/11, 190321/11, 190399/11, and 190436/11 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t). Represented Union Carbide Corporation in two interlocutory appeals in the New York Appellate Division in Manhattan. One appeal concerned the propriety of an order joining multiple unrelated cases for a single trial; the other raised questions regarding the type of evidence sufficient to establish exposure to a hazardous substance. Briefed and argued.
- Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Russo, No. SC12-1401 (Fla. Sup. Ct.): Represented Philip Morris in an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court raising the question whether Florida’s 12-year statute of repose for fraud actions bars suits brought more than 12 years after the plaintiff relied on a fraudulent act. Principal drafter of the briefs; the case was argued by Florida counsel.
- Offshore Exploration and Production, LLC v. Morgan Stanley Private Bank, N.A., No. 14-341 (2d Cir.): Represented the national oil company of Colombia in a Second Circuit appeal concerning the propriety of a $75 million arbitral award in favor of our client and the national oil company of Korea.
- Mulholland v. Philip Morris USA Inc., Nos. 14-144, 14-265 (2d Cir.): Briefed and argued appeal for Philip Morris challenging a $5.5 million jury verdict in a wrongful-death case. Previously represented the defendant as lead legal issues counsel at trial.
- Schwarz v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. A152354 (Or. App.): Represented Philip Morris in an appeal from a $25 million punitive damages award entered after a damages-only retrial. Previously represented the company in its successful appeal of the original award to the Oregon Supreme Court, and at the retrial.
- Centro Empresarial Cempresa S.A. v. America Movil, S.A.B. de C.V., 17 N.Y.3d 269 (2011): Principal drafter of briefs filed in the Appellate Division (as Appellant) and the New York Court of Appeals (as Respondent). The Appellate Division reversed an order denying our clients’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking over $900 million in damages; a unanimous Court of Appeals affirmed, enforcing a release that required dismissal of the complaint and entry of judgment for our clients.
- Star One S.A. v. Andesat S.A. E.M.A., 909 N.Y.S.2d 634 (1st Dep’t 2010): Briefed and argued appeal from the denial of a motion to disqualify opposing counsel in high-stakes arbitration. Appellate Division reversed and granted judgment in favor of our client.
- Philip Morris USA v. Williams, 129 S. Ct. 1436 (mem.) (2009): Co-authored merits briefs in Supreme Court case addressing the adequate-and-independent-state-ground doctrine.
- Broadcast Music, Inc. v. Weigel Broadcasting Co., 340 Fed. Appx. 726 (2d Cir. 2009): Briefed and argued appeal in dispute between a television broadcasting company and a music licensing company. Negotiated partial settlement of earlier dispute and stay pending appeal.
- Mensing v. Wyeth, Inc., 588 F.3d 603 (8th Cir. 2009): Represented name-brand drug manufacturer in personal injury suit brought by a patient who was injured after ingesting a generic drug. The Eighth Circuit affirmed judgment in favor of our client.
- Adamo v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 11 N.Y.3d 545 (2008): Principal drafter of briefs filed in the Appellate Division (as Appellant) and the Court of Appeals (as Respondent). The courts vacated a $20 million judgment against our client, holding that a plaintiff cannot prove negligent design in a products liability case without showing that the proposed safer alternative would have been acceptable to consumers.
- Chemtall Inc. v. Madden, 655 S.E.2d 161 (W. Va. 2007): Drafted amicus brief on behalf of a trade organization challenging mass adjudication of punitive damage claims in consolidated action.
- Koegel v. Baugur Group, HF, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 11373 (5th Cir. 2007): Represented large overseas employer in an appeal in a fraudulent-inducement suit brought by two former executives. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of claims against our clients on personal jurisdiction grounds.
- Williams v. New York City Transit Authority, 31 A.D.3d 631 (2d Dep’t 2006): Briefed and argued appeal on behalf of a passenger who was injured while riding the subway.
Trial-level legal strategy:
- Represented Fortune 500 company during a February 2014 personal injury trial in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Responsible for legal strategy, issue preservation, and briefing and argument of all legal issues. The case was originally tried in August 2013 and ended in a mistrial; it was retried in 2014 and resulted in a complete defense verdict.
- Represented Fortune 500 company in a four-week personal injury trial conducted in November and December of 2013 in Florida state court in Miami-Dade County. Responsible for legal strategy, issue preservation, and briefing and argument of all legal issues. The case ended in a defense verdict.
- Represented Fortune 500 company in a July 2013 trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Responsible for legal strategy, issue preservation, and briefing and argument of all legal issues. Plaintiff prevailed on one of her two claims; now representing the company in the appeal of the case to the Second Circuit.
- Represented Fortune 500 company during six-week multi-phase product liability and personal injury trial consolidating the claims of over 1,200 plaintiffs in West Virginia state court. Responsible for legal strategy, issue preservation, motions practice, jury instructions, directed verdict motions, and briefing and arguing various other legal issues that arose before and during trial, including arguing a three-day charge conference on behalf of all three industry defendants. The case was originally tried in October 2011 and resulted in a mistrial. It was retried in April and May of 2013, resulting in a defense victory. Currently representing the company in the plaintiff’s appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court.
- Represented Fortune 500 company during a November 2012 personal injury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Responsible for legal strategy, issue preservation, and briefing and argument of all legal issues. The case ended with a defense verdict.
- Represented Fortune 500 company during a May 2011 personal injury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Responsible for legal strategy, issue preservation, and briefing and argument of all legal issues. The case ended with a defense verdict.
- Responsible for legal strategy, motions practice, and issue preservation in connection with several other recent and upcoming trials in Oregon, California, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and Missouri, including three punitive damages retrials and several mass and class actions.
- Morales v. United States, No. 15-243-PR (2d Cir. 2016): Briefed and argued habeas appeal on behalf of incarcerated defendant challenging his sentence on constitutional grounds. The district court denied relief; the Second Circuit unanimously reversed, finding that the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights had been violated during his sentencing hearing. The case was remanded for re-sentencing.
- United States v. Shellef, 718 F.3d 94 (2d Cir. 2013): Briefed and argued criminal appeal raising issues related to the proper application of the Speedy Trial Act.
- Costello v. N.Y. State Bd. of Parole, No. 6880/11 (N.Y. Ct. App.) (pending): Currently representing seven former members of the New York State Board of Parole, as amici curiae, urging the court to limit the Board’s ability to rescind a grant of parole in the absence of substantial new evidence regarding the original crime. Represented amici in the Appellate Division (3d Dep’t) and on petition for review.
- People v. DiGuglielmo, 17 N.Y.3d 771 (2011): Represented murder defendant in pro bono appeal to the New York Court of Appeals.
- United States v. Black, 530 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2008): Represented high-profile newspaper publisher in a Seventh Circuit criminal appeal challenging the district court’s interpretation of the “honest services” provision of the federal mail fraud statute.
- United States v. Quattrone, 441 F.3d 153 (2d Cir. 2006): Represented high-profile investment banker in the successful Second Circuit appeal of his federal obstruction of justice conviction. In the wake of the court’s decision, as described by Time magazine, “prosecutors waved a white flag” and abandoned any effort to pursue a retrial.
- United States v. Pinzon (E.D.N.Y. 2009): Represented criminal defendant at the trial court level. Successfully argued for dismissal of original indictment and withdrawal of guilty plea. Negotiated plea agreement with the government on superseding indictment.
Columbia Law School, JD
Senior Editor, Columbia Law Review
Harvard University, AB cum laude in History
- New York
- US Supreme Court
- US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- US District Court for the Southern District of New York
- US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- US District Court for the Western District of New York