Appellate Practice

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George T. Lewis III
 

The very best appellate practitioners are skilled brief writers and effective oral advocates. They bring value both as seasoned appellate attorneys and as strategic partners before and during trial.

Baker Donelson's Appellate Group members are experienced litigators and understand firsthand the types of concise, strategic arguments expected by appellate courts. We regularly partner with trial counsel in anticipation of an appeal to produce results in line with the client's desired business outcome. We also come into cases to handle post-trial motions and appeals when other lawyers have achieved a result that was not what the client wanted.

Nationally and regionally-recognized litigators, our attorneys' experience with appellate courts and issues is vast, and we leverage that on behalf of our clients when brought on to the case. We work closely with trial counsel to give our clients the benefit of both the trial attorneys' knowledge and the appellate attorneys' unique skills and experience. Our attorneys are often retained to handle pre- and post-judgment proceedings and appeals at the request of the client, trial counsel or the client's insurance carrier. If retained before trial, we also are able to assist trial counsel in preserving issues when an appeal is anticipated.

Where We Practice

We are regularly involved in scores of appeals touching upon all areas of the Firm's broad litigation practice. Our attorneys have been involved in more than 60 cases in which review was granted by or sought before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Group has handled cases in the appellate courts across and beyond Baker Donelson's footprint in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia, including the:

  • U.S. Supreme Court;
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits;
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit;
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims;
  • U.S. Tax Court;
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims;
  • U.S. District Courts;
  • Bankruptcy Courts;
  • State Supreme Courts; and
  • State intermediate Courts of Appeal.

Who We Are

Nationally and regionally-recognized litigators, our attorneys include a former U.S. District Court Judge, retired Circuit Court Judge and a Georgetown University faculty member who teaches constitutional law. Our team also includes founding members of the Appellate Practice Sections of the Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee State Bar Associations; members of the former Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission; and former chair of the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission. Several individuals in our group are active members of "by invitation only" organizations of trial lawyers such as the American College of Trial Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates and Litigation Counsel of America.

We offer strategic guidance informed by service as law clerks or staff attorneys on federal and state courts, including the:

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits;
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims;
  • U.S. Tax Court;
  • U.S. District Courts in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, including Bankruptcy Courts;
  • State Supreme Courts in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas; and
  • State courts of appeal and trial courts.

A list of our federal and state court clerkships, complete with corresponding judge and attorney details, can be found further in this description.

Baker Donelson's appellate attorneys are involved in many professional organizations and committees dedicated to improving the appellate practice and process, including the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, American Bar Association Appellate Practice Committees, Defense Research Institute Appellate Practice Committee, International Association of Defense Counsel Appellate Practice Committee and state bar association sections and committees.

Our Experience

The issues we have handled on appeal and at the trial level are as diverse as the Firm's litigation practice. We have also prepared amicus briefs for trade associations or other parties interested in an appeal.

Representative Appellate Matters

  • Represented large municipality and its utility division in a series of precedent-setting interstate water rights suits involving rights to an underground aquifer. Plaintiff sought more than $1 billion in monetary damages and an injunction to cut off the municipality’s sole public water source. The municipality and utility division were successful in the U.S. District Court, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Received per curiam ruling in the Eleventh Circuit affirming trial court's grant of summary judgment in a pharmaceutical case. Brought as a false advertising claim under the Lanham Act, the plaintiffs claimed our client's product was being marketed, without adequate testing, as substitute for theirs and was therefore bioequivalent to theirs. The trial court stated the burden of proof remained with the plaintiff, and the Eleventh circuit agreed.
  • Persuaded Maryland's highest court to overturn ruling that would have allowed borrowers to rescind mortgages long after the Truth In Lending Act's three-day limit.
  • Successfully obtained reversal of Eleventh Circuit decision for CSX Corporation before the U.S. Supreme Court, on issue of whether the state of Georgia had over-valued CSX's property in Georgia for property tax purposes. Saved the client several million dollars for the tax year at issue and subsequent tax years.
  • Obtained a decision in the Supreme Court of Tennessee that class actions are not allowed under Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. Reversing the trial court, the Supreme Court also held that class certification is inappropriate in fraud and negligent misrepresentation cases based upon non-uniform oral communications.
  • Successfully defended trial court's dismissal of lawsuit by Catholic visionary seeking personal control over assets of nonprofit organization that had declined to follow visionary's instructions. Issues included First Amendment, civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), fraud, implied trust, Georgia Charitable Solicitations Act and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • On issue of first impression in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, overturned the trial court's order permitting employees discharged for refusing to sign an arbitration agreement to sue for wrongful retaliation under Title VII, ADEA and ADA.
  • On an issue of first impression, obtained decision dismissing claims by doctor concerning statements made to peer review committee. Case was resolved under the Tennessee Peer Review Law and the Health Care Quality Improvement Act.
  • Overturned a federal district court's $500,000 judgment against a hospital client based on changes in medical care benefits for retirees. The issues included preemption, vesting of benefits, estoppel, fiduciary duty and compensatory damages under ERISA.
  • Successfully defended a jury's findings of trade dress infringement and design patent infringement concerning women's apparel and accessories in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
  • Successfully defended an appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by an employee seeking to avoid the forum selection clause contained in an employment contract. The Court affirmed the propriety of the removal of the case to federal court and found the forum selection clause designating Brazil as the appropriate forum wholly enforceable.
  • Successfully represented Medicaid-managed care organizations and state trade association in United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in action seeking fairness hearing on Medicaid class action settlement imposing significant new burdens on MCOs.
  • Represented managed care company in enforcement of arbitration clause in network physician agreement. Trial court held clause unenforceable; Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed.
  • Successfully defended property insurance policy provisions under Mississippi law related to wind, water and anti-concurrent causation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit following Hurricane Katrina.

Select Baker Donelson Federal and State Court Clerkships

Federal Court Clerkships

United States Court of Appeals

  • William H.D. Fones, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Judge Marion T. Bennett
  • Ronald S. Range, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Judge H. Emory Widener, Jr.
  • Amy L. Champagne, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge W. Eugene Davis
  • Nakimuli O. Davis-Primer, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Leslie H. Southwick
  • Brooks Eason, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Chief Judge Charles Clark
  • Sterling Kidd, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge E. Grady Jolly
  • Leonard C. "Len" Martin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Chief Judge James P. Coleman
  • Kerry J. Miller, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge James Dennis
  • William N. Reed, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Elbert P. Tuttle
  • Wendy K. Thompson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Rhesa H. Barksdale
  • Klinton W. Alexander, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Chief Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr.
  • Michael B. Chance, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Judge Harry Wellford
  • Andrew J. Droke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Judge Bernice B. Donald
  • Thomas O. Helton, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Chief Judge Paul C. Wieck
  • Elizabeth B. McCostlin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Judge Eugene Siler, Jr.
  • Gerardo R. Barrios, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Robert R. Beezer
  • Scott S. Frederick, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Chief Judge Edward E. Carnes
  • Jonathan E. Green, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Lynn A. Landau, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Judge James C. Hill
  • Lori H. Patterson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Judge John Godbold

United States Tax Court

United States Court of Federal Claims

United States District Courts

Alabama

  • Kevin R. Garrison, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Chief Judge W. Keith Watkins
  • Frank S. James III, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Judge Virgil Pittman
  • William "Bill" Lawrence, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Judge Robert B. Propst (also sitting by designation on the Eleventh Circuit)
  • Charles Ruffin, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Judge Robert Varner
  • William G. Somerville, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Judge Seybourn H. Lynne
  • Susan S. Wagner, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Judge Sam C. Pointer, Jr.

Arkansas

  • M. Kim Vance, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Chief Judge Franklin Waters

Florida

  • Donald E. Christopher, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Chief Judge George C. Young

Georgia

  • Emily Rutledge Early, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Judge W. Louis Sands
  • Timothy J. Colletti, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Chief Judge John T. Laney III
  • Kathleen G. Furr, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Judge Wendy L. Hagenau
  • Joann E. Johnston, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Judge William C. O’Kelley
  • Madeleine G. Kvalheim, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro
  • Joy Boyd Longnecker, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Judge Duross Fitzpatrick and Judge C. Ashley Royal
  • Ashley S. Thompson, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Judge Orinda D. Evans

Kentucky

  • Whitney M. Harmon, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Judge Karl S. Forester

Louisiana

  • Brian M. Ballay, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Carl J. Barbier
  • Natalie R. Bolling, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Karen Wells Roby
  • Katherine Cicardo, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Judge Dee D. Drell
  • Katherine Cicardo, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, Judge James J. Brady
  • Aubrey "Copper" Hirsch, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Chief Judge Frederick Heebe
  • Joann Coston-Holloway, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle
  • Christopher M. Hannan, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Carl J. Barbier
  • Kenneth M. Klemm, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge George Arceneaux, Jr.
  • Stephanie N. Murphy, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo
  • James R. Parish, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Judge Robert G. James
  • Kathlyn Perez, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr.
  • Damany F. Ransom, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Karen Wells Roby

Maryland

  • Dan Carrigan, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Maryland, Judge Glenn Goldburn

Mississippi

  • Alissa J. Allison, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Chief Judge L.T. Senter
  • Jason Bush, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Judge Glen H. Davidson
  • Clay Gunn, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III
  • C. Lee Lott, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Judge Glen H. Davidson
  • Jon Stephen Kennedy, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Chief Judge Tom S. Lee
  • Brad C. Moody, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Judge David C. Bramlette, III
  • Anna Powers, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Chief Judge Michael P. Mills
  • Fredrick N. Salvo, III, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Chief U.S. Magistrate John M. Roper

Missouri

  • Caldwell G. Collins, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Judge Audrey G. Fleissig

New York

  • Matthew S. Mulqueen, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska

North Carolina

  • John David Folds, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Chief Judge William L. Stocks
  • Kathleen G. Furr, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, J. Craig Whitley

Tennessee

  • Adam S. Baldridge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge J. Daniel Breen
  • Katherine Murphy Bogard, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge S. Thomas Anderson
  • Spencer Clift, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge David S. Kennedy
  • Jacob Dickerson, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Chief Judge Jon P. McCalla
  • Russell W. Gray, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Judge R. Allan Edgar
  • Cameron S. Hill, Sr., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Judge Curtis L. Collier
  • Thomas O. Helton, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Judge Frank Gray, Jr.
  • Erno D. Lindner, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge David S. Kennedy
  • William A. McBride, US. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Middle Tennessee, Judge Keith M. Lundin
  • William R. "Bill" O'Connor, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge David S. Kennedy and Judge George W. Emerson, Jr.
  • Carol Owen, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Chief Judge Robert L. Echols
  • Sarah L. Pazar, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge Jon C. McCalla and Judge Charmiane G. Claxton
  • Melanie A. Prince, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Judge Harry S. Mattice, Jr. and Judge Susan K. Lee
  • Adam Sanders, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier
  • D. Eric Setterlund, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Judge Diane K. Vescovo
  • Brittany Bartley Simpson, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Judge Thomas A. Varlan
  • Melanie C. Walker, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Judge Curtis L. Collier
  • Amber J. Seay, Memphis Immigration Court, Judge Rebecca L. Holt and Judge Charles E. Pazar

Texas

  • Kali Hyde, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, Judge Francis S. Stacy

Virginia

  • Dan Carrigan, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Henry D. Evans
  • Spencer Leach, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler

State Court Clerkships

Supreme Courts

Courts of Appeal