28 January 2014
In a recent seven day period, five different lawyers in Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court & Appellate group took the lead role in securing five impressive wins in appellate matters before five federal appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court. The cases addressed issues ranging from the appealability of decisions dealing with the recovery of attorneys' fees and costs to First Amendment rights for lobbyists. The group’s victories included:
• Successfully represented the petitioners, Ray Haluch Gravel Co. and others, at the petition and merits stage before the US Supreme Court concerning the appealability of decisions of federal trial courts in cases where a party has requested an award of attorney’s fees. On January 15th, the Court held that a district court’s decision leaving unresolved a request for contractual attorney's fees is a final decision subject to immediate appeal. The team was led by partner Dan Himmelfarb, who argued the case. Special counsel Charles Rothfeld and associates Michael Kimberly and Scott Noveck assisted on the briefs.
• Secured a major win for CSX Transportation Inc. when the Fourth Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision on January 21st, finding that there was insufficient evidence to impute the racially offensive vandalism to CSX that the plaintiff alleged created a hostile work environment while she was employed at CSX as a conductor trainee. Mayer Brown was retained to assist with the post-trial motions and appeal. The team was led by partner Evan Tager, who argued the case. Partner Miriam Nemetz and associate Scott Noveck assisted on the brief.
• Scored a significant First Amendment victory on behalf of six lobbyists by persuading the DC Circuit to set aside a district court decision that had upheld President Obama’s rule preventing registered lobbyists from serving on industry trade advisory committees. On January 17th, the court of appeals held that the lobbying ban burdens the constitutional right to petition the government and returned the case to the lower court. Special counsel Charles Rothfeld argued the case and was assisted on the briefs by associate Joey Minta.
• Victorious in the first case to be reheard en banc by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in more than two years, on behalf of the National and New York Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers as amici curiae. Mayer Brown argued that the case should be decided on narrow grounds that preserved the plaintiff’s right to seek monetary compensation for certain constitutional violations committed by the New York City police. In a divided 9-6 decision on January 16th, the court adopted the narrow argument. Associate Michael Kimberly argued the appeal. The team also included special counsel Charles Rothfeld and associate Paul Hughes.
• Secured a Ninth Circuit panel ruling in favor of client blogger Crystal Cox and reversed part of the lower court decision, ruling that a trustee the blogger had criticized for its role in a real estate bankruptcy needed to show the blogger had acted negligently. In the January 17th ruling, the court concluded that the First Amendment libel law rules protect all who speak to the public, and not just professional journalists, entitling Cox to a new trial. The matter was handled by Mayer Brown academic affiliate Eugene Volokh, who was named the top “Legal Lion” of the week by Law360 for this successful outcome.
Mayer Brown’s appellate lawyers have argued more than 220 cases before the US Supreme Court and hundreds of cases in federal and state appellate courts across the nation. The firm’s preeminent Supreme Court & Appellate group is consistently recognized in leading guides, including Chambers USA and Legal 500 US. For the sixth consecutive year, the National Law Journal named Mayer Brown to its “Appellate Hot List,” recognizing the firm’s group for its “exemplary, cutting-edge appellate advocacy.”