Appellate Strength At All Levels
Trial Level. Appellate Courts. National Representation.
The Appellate Department of Post & Schell, P.C. influences outcomes in high profile cases at decisive junctures. Our Appellate attorneys recommend creative strategic approaches at every point of the litigation process, from the opening of a file through to its conclusion, including persuading Appellate Courts across the nation and developing new trends in the law.
Our Appellate lawyers have worked with individuals from firms and corporations for over two decades. These specialists have brought a practical, focused approach to solving, and preventing, problems through their recognition that effective appellate advocacy begins long before trial.
National and Regional Appellate Counsel
Our appellate lawyers have earned a national reputation for their innovative perspective, aggressive techniques, identification and pursuit of unique issues and meticulous case management. They advise, assist and handle all aspects of both pre-trial and post-trial appellate matters, including helping to build and correctly preserve the Record, an absolute necessity in every case. Post & Schell supports its clients with our:
- Dedicated Practice Group – This group of lawyers specializes in handling pre-trial and post-trial appellate issues, on a daily basis, in both the federal and state courts.
- Seamless Teamwork – Our appellate specialists collaborate and coordinate with trial counsel, both within and outside of our Firm, identifying goals and effectuating plans to reach them. Post & Schell is able to provide a "big picture" strategy from the inception of the lawsuit through all phases of the litigation.
- Consistent and Efficient National Strategy – Working pre-trial with counsel, and having a role during trial, helps to formulate a proactive, cohesive and cost-effective framework for high-damage litigation, particularly where novel issues arise.
- ADR Strategic Advantage – When our appellate lawyers appear in mediation and settlement proceedings, the opposing counsel receives a powerful message about our clients' strength of purpose, position and aggressive approach.
- Understanding Client Goals – We recognize that each client has unique goals and objectives. From an appellate perspective, these may include changing the law, maintaining current precedent, protecting against future liability and/or positioning a case for settlement. Our Appellate Department’s understanding of our clients and their industries, as well as our proven experience and strategic insight, assist clients in hastening and achieving their intended objectives.
- Firm-wide Resources – Our clients have full access to the knowledge and skills of the panoply of Post & Schell colleagues who manage litigation, trials and appeals in various practice areas including, but not limited to, health care, casualty, energy, bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, construction, products liability, white collar defense, employment, environmental and constitutional law. The depth of our resources naturally serves to strengthen our clients' position.
Our Appellate Team
Our appellate attorneys, who address pre-trial and post-trial appellate issues, include:
- James J. Kutz is Chair of the Department and a member of the Appellate Rules Committee of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He has assisted our clients in prevailing in many precedent-setting cases involving copyright and trademark infringement, environmental, professional licensure and administrative law.
- Sheila A. Haren has worked exclusively on post-trial and appellate litigation for over fifteen years. She has developed particular areas of specialization in the pursuit of pre-trial, interlocutory appeals, all aspects of required appellate security as well as in assisting lawyers with trial preparation from an appellate perspective.
- Karyn Dobroskey Rienzi has a background in post-trial and appellate matters, predominantly in the areas of products liability, insurance defense, casualty, bad faith and workers compensation. She has represented clients both at arbitration hearings and at trial.
Adjunct Appellate Attorneys
In concert with our full-time appellate team, Post & Schell has the ability to call upon other Principals, who have skills in specific areas of expertise, to also engage in pre-trial, post-trial and appellate matters. These Principals include:
- Christopher J. Barr, David B. MacGregor and Michael W. Gang successfully handle numerous matters before both state and federal courts on significant issues concerning the energy industry.
- Paula J. McDermott is skilled in the handling of Administrative, Regulatory and Constitutional appellate cases and has significant experience with matters before the Board of Claims.
- Ronald H. Levine, John N. Joseph, and Peter D. Hardy focus on the defense of white-collar criminal matters including, but not limited to, government investigations.
- Brian W. Bisignani contributes significant experience in bankruptcy and creditors’ rights appellate matters.
- Richard L. McMonigle applies his extensive insurance law experience through the appellate process.
Appellate Representative Matters
Post & Schell’s effectiveness is exemplified in numerous representative matters including the following:
- Antitrust and Immunity – Our team's efforts resulted in the United States Court of Appeals affirming the dismissal, on summary judgment, of a disruptive physician’s treble damages antitrust lawsuit against a hospital under the Health Care Quality Improvement Act. The appellate tribunal also affirmed, on appeal, the District Court’s refusal to award injunctive relief under the antitrust laws.
- Appellate Security – Consistently, in matters where money Judgments are pending against defending parties, our specialists have been successful in reducing the amount of appellate security which may be required pertinent to an appeal as well as in thwarting opposing parties' efforts to prematurely and/or improperly enforce liability on that security. An example of the latter circumstance includes a recent victory where the plaintiff aggressively moved to enforce the liability on a Supersedeas Bond in excess of $14,000,000.00, seeking to undermine the fiscal soundness of the surety during the life of the appeal. Upon judicial review at both the trial court and the appellate court levels, the plaintiff's efforts were rejected, with the tribunals leaving both the appeal, and the previously filed appellate security, firmly in place.
- Breach of Contract – Our efforts resulted in the appellate courts reversing a Judgment, which had been entered in favor of the plaintiff awarding him lost business income, finding that the plaintiff’s general release did not permit the recovery.
- Construction Litigation – Our team worked to set aside an original trial award of $2,500,000.00, and ensured that Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict be entered in our client's favor.
- Employment Discrimination – Due to our appellate team's efforts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of a female staff physician’s Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit against a hospital because of the absence of any employment relationship between the hospital and the physician.
- General Liability/Premises Liability – On appeal, the courts set aside the jury's $6,400,000.00 verdict, which had been rendered in favor of the plaintiff, and awarded a new trial to the defending corporation.
- Insurance Coverage – Our team obtained a declaration of “no coverage” from the appellate courts, reversing the trial court which had ruled against our client and thwarting a pending bad faith claim.
- Products Liability – The jury's verdict in the plaintiff's favor, in the amount of $10,600,000.00, was set aside on appeal, and a new trial was ordered in favor of the defendant which had manufactured the storage racks in issue. The appellate tribunal agreed with the manufacturer's position that the trial court had erred and abused its discretion in granting the plaintiff's petition which prevented the manufacturer from utilizing evidence which the plaintiff had intended to use against other co-defendants, who had settled the claims against them one week before the start of the trial. Other related appellate findings included, but were not limited to, determinations that the trial court had also erred in refusing to include the settled defendants on the verdict sheet and in failing to give related jury instructions.
- Professional Liability – The appellate courts, as a result of a second appeal from an interlocutory, pre-trial Order, reversed the Orders of the trial court and entered Judgments of Non Pros in favor of a physician and a hospital, thereby entirely dismissing the plaintiff's case against them.
- Public Policy – The jury's verdict, in excess of $350,000.00 which had been rendered in favor of the plaintiff, was set aside on appeal, and Judgment was entered in favor of the defending corporation. In so finding, the appellate courts agreed that the patient was barred, as a matter of law and public policy, from benefiting from his own criminal acts, and that the patient failed to establish proximate cause, thereby necessitating the entry of Judgment in favor of the corporation.
- Scope of Regulatory Authority – In a unanimous decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) in holding that electric generation suppliers are not public utilities, and therefore, are not subject to assessments and other forms of regulation by the PUC. The decision cleared a major potential roadblock to the development of competitive electricity markets in Pennsylvania.
- Statutory Interpretation – In an en banc Opinion, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed itself on a motion for reconsideration, accepted an appeal by a licensed funeral director, and reversed an effort by the State Board of Funeral Directors to declare all pre-need agreements for the provision of funeral services and merchandise rescindable at the will of the customer. The decision preserved millions of dollars in pre-need money which had been collected and invested by funeral directors.
- Waste Removal – Members of our appellate team successfully defended the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which ruled that Pennsylvania counties can restrict waste removal to local facilities even if cheaper, out-of-town alternatives exist. This precedent-setting decision created a new, reasonable option with which to finance, monitor and enforce environmentally sound waste disposal practices without conflicting with the federal Commerce Clause.