Appellate

Dykema has earned the reputation of an appellate powerhouse. We built that reputation through 70 years of serving clients in complex “bet the company” litigation, making new law, and gaining the respect of courts across the country. That reputation extends not only to our lawyers with appellate experience who are based in California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington, D.C., but also well beyond the jurisdictions where we have offices. Our attorneys have handled appeals in all 13 federal courts of appeals, most state appellate courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. We have a winning track record of consistently obtaining reversals of adverse decisions and preserving trial court victories for our clients.

Dykema offers more than seasoned appellate practitioners—we know our audience. Our nationwide Appellate Team consists of a former Court of Appeals judge and several former federal and state judicial law clerks, all of whom worked side-by-side with judges in the decision-making process and know how to present written and oral arguments that are most likely to persuade the courts. Our skill and success in the nation’s appellate courts have propelled our lawyers to positions of leadership in prominent national and local appellate practice groups, including the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeals, the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers Executive Board, Ninth Circuit Appellate Lawyer Representatives, and several state and county appellate bar groups. Many of our team members are looked to as experts in procedural and substantive areas of law, and our work is frequently published in scholarly articles and textbooks. We are also regularly invited to speak at judicial and practitioner conferences to keep the appellate bench and bar informed on the latest developments in the law.

We collaborate with Dykema’s nationally-renowned Trial Team, and we are also frequently brought in as embedded appellate counsel in trial court proceedings by in-house counsel or other law firms. In this vital role, we work both on the frontlines and behind the scenes to achieve victory for the client by:  

  • Shaping overall litigation strategy;
  • Preserving the record and arguments for possible appeal;
  • Preparing and persuading the trial court to adopt proposed jury instructions and verdict forms;
  • Preparing key pre-trial, trial, and post-trial briefing, including dispositive motions, motions in limine, and motions for JNOV or new trial; and
  • Developing innovative approaches to emerging policies, legal questions, and trends across multiple cases and jurisdictions, creating an overall strategy on an issue of significance to the client and/or its industry.

With our substantial experience in appellate courts, as well as our ability to communicate complex legal issues in simple ways that resonate with the courts, Dykema’s Appellate Team helps ensure our clients put forth the strongest possible case in their pursuit of a favorable decision.    

Examples of representative matters:

  • Protecting Michigan Taxpayers v. Board of State Canvassers. Dykema represented clients seeking to place an initiated law on the ballot, who were previously denied by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers due to alleged irregularities by certain paid circulators. In a precedent setting decision, the Court ruled that otherwise valid signatures could not be rejected on the claimed basis, reversed the Board of Canvassers and ordered that the petitions be certified.
  • Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools. Dykema represented the Fry family pro bono in the United States Supreme Court in a highly watched case involving alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was dismissed at the district court level for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in our clients’ favor.
  • Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Ford Motor Co. Dykema obtained a landmark published decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on choice of law principles. The court held that Tennessee law applied in this products liability action brought in Michigan, and because the Tennessee statute of repose barred the claim, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Dykema’s client, Ford.
  • Cooper v. Asset Acceptance, LLC. Dykema obtained a decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals holding that Dykema’s client, Asset, did not waive its right to invoke an arbitration clause in the purported class action, and affirming the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims.
  • Halvorson v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co. Dykema obtained a published decision from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing the certification of a class action on the grounds that individual issues predominated. This reversal came after a successful FRCP 23(f) petition of interlocutory review.
  • Edmunson v. Procter & Gamble Co. Dykema obtained a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the dismissal of a nationwide consumer class action.
  • Mook v. Draper Chevrolet. Dykema obtained a published decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals affirming the grant of summary disposition to defendant in a personal injury case, holding that plaintiff could not make an end run around the Michigan statute that protects non-manufacturing product sellers from liability for personal injury claims by bringing suit against a dealer.
  • Petitpas v. Ford Motor Co. Dykema represented Ford in this asbestos appeal in the California Court of Appeal resulting in a published decision holding auto manufacturers are not liable for asbestos found in brake replacement parts.
  • Covenant v. State Farm. Dykema represented State Farm in this seminal Michigan Supreme Court case, which held health care providers may not sue auto insurers for payments for services provided to auto accident victims.
  • GM Sign, Inc. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty. Dykema obtained a reversal from the Illinois Appellate Court and vacatur of an order granting final approval of a multi-million dollar class action settlement in a case involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • In re Ford Motor Co. Dykema obtained a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court in favor of our client Ford imposing a new outer limit on discovery from expert witnesses.
  • Kim v. JP Morgan Chase. Dykema obtained a partial reversal from the Michigan Supreme Court, garnering a ruling that has significantly changed consumer finance law in Michigan. The Court accepted Dykema’s argument, made on behalf of our client Chase, that a violation of the foreclosure-by-advertisement statute does not render the foreclosure void, but merely voidable, and the borrower must show prejudice as a result of the violation.

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