Appellate

Overview

After 70 years of serving clients in cases that include complex “bet the company” litigation, making law in many different substantive areas and geographical jurisdictions, and gaining the respect of courts across the country, Dykema has earned the reputation of an appellate powerhouse. 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 in which we have offices. Dykema team members have participated in appeals in each and every federal court of appeal, 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 sustaining favorable rulings for our clients.

Dykema offers more than seasoned appellate practitioners. Our nationwide Appellate Team consists of a former Michigan Court of Appeals judge, as well as former federal and state trial and appellate level judicial clerks, all of whom know how to present written and oral arguments that are most likely to persuade the courts. Members of our Team's appellate courts hold, or have held, positions of leadership in numerous national and local appellate practice groups, including the American Bar Association's Council of Appellate Lawyers Executive Board, State Bar of Michigan Appellate Practice Section Council, Ninth Circuit Appellate Lawyer Representatives, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section Committee, Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois, Orange County (Cal) Bar Association Appellate Law Section, and the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeals, among others. Team members are also regularly invited to speak at judicial and practitioner conferences on such topics as appellate philosophies, procedures, and substantive areas of the law; and frequently publish articles on same.

We have earned our reputation as an appellate powerhouse not only by our work in the appellate courts, but also by working with our colleagues and clients as cases are being litigated at the trial court level. We understand that what appellate lawyers can do before a judgment is entered is often as important as, if not more important than, what they can do after. This includes:

  • Shaping overall litigation strategy
  • Preservation of record and argument/issues
  • Preparation of and responding to proposed jury instructions and verdict forms
  • Preparation of key pre-trial, trial, and post-trial briefing, including dispositive motions, motions in limine, and motions for JNOV or new trial
  • Development of creative and strategic 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—as well as our ability to communicate complex legal issues in simple ways that will resonate—Dykema’s Appellate Team helps ensure our clients put forth the strongest possible case in their quest for a favorable decision.

Experience Matters

Our recent significant experience includes:

  • Petitpas v. Ford Motor Co. Dykema represented Ford in this asbestos appeal in the California Court of Appeal resulting in a published opinion holding auto manufacturers are not liable for asbestos containing 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.
  • Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools. Dykema represented Fry in the United States Supreme Court in a highly watched case where Fry sued her former school district for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case was dismissed at the district court level for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, creating a circuit split. Arguments were heard in November 2016 and in February 2017, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in Fry's favor.

  • Lafontaine v. Chrysler Group. Dykema obtained a favorable ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court, holding that amendments to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act cannot be applied retroactively, thus allowing our client Chrysler Group and other OEMs more opportunities to open dealerships.

  • State of Michigan v. CVS Caremark, et al. Dykema obtained a favorable ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court dismissing claims against our client Kmart Corp. in a case regarding failure to meet the pleading requirements.

  • GM Sign Inc. v. State Farm. Dykema obtained a victory from an Illinois Court of Appeals holding that our client State Farm had no duty to defend a policyholder against a multi-million dollar class action alleging violations of 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 in this case, 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.

  • Standard Fire Ins Co. v. Ford Motor Co. Dykema obtained a published decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of appeals which is likely to be oft-cited on choice of law principals. The court held that in this products liability action brought in Michigan, Tennessee law applied and since the TN statute of repose barred the claim, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Ford was affirmed.

  • Cooper v. Asset Acceptance, LLC.  Dykema obtained a decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals holding that Asset did not waive its right to invoke an arbitration clause in this purported class action, and affirming the dismissal of plaintiffs' claims.

  • EFA v. ABC Hotel and Restaurant Supply. Dykema obtained a decision of the Seventh District Court of Appeals in Texas, affirming a multi-issue grant of summary judgment to our client, ABC Hotel & Restaurant Supply, in a complex commercial dispute arising from ABC's attempt to acquire its leading competitor, New York-based restaurant supply company EFA.

  • Halvorson v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co. Dykema obtained a published decision of 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.

  • Bridgeview Health Care Center v. State Farm Fire and Casualty. Dykema obtained an opinion from the Illinois Court of Appeals, again involving choice of law issues, and holding that state courts may consider federal court opinions in ascertaining another state's law and reversing the decision against our client.

  • Edmunson v. Procter & Gamble Co. Dykema obtained an opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the dismissal of a nationwide consumer class action.

  • ADT Security Services v. Lisle-Woodridge Fire Protection District. Dykema obtained a published opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming a grant of a permanent injunction in favor of our client, holding that defendants could not engage in fire alarm monitoring.

  • Mook v. Draper Chevrolet. Dykema obtained a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals affirming the grant of summary disposition to defendant in this personal injury case, holding essentially 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.

  • Nemmers v Ford Motor Co. Dykema obtained a significant victory in the Eight Circuit, which affirmed a jury verdict in Ford’s favor following a trial alleging seatbelt design defects.

  • 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 class action settlement.

  • Saurman v. Residential Funding. Dykema obtained reversal in this highly watched case regarding the ability of certain parties to foreclose on residential properties in Michigan. In a case affecting numerous transactions, we entered the case at the Supreme Court level, and filed  a successful application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, which then reversed the previous ruling adverse to the client banks.

  • Smith v. Ford Motor Company. Dykema represented Ford Motor Company in this appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the denial of class certification in this alleged multimillion dollar product liability class action.

  • Angelotti v. Walt Disney. Dykema obtained affirmance by the California Court of Appeals of the dismissal of a suit brought by the stunt man for The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, with the court’s finding that the plaintiff was barred by the worker’s compensation exclusive remedy statute being significant in the entertainment industry as it addresses the level of control over filming required by a studio in order for it to be held liable for on-set injuries.

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