Appellate Representation

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Briggs and Morgan’s appellate practice group has advocated on behalf of clients in nearly all federal circuit courts and in most state courts throughout the Upper Midwest, with particular strength and frequency in Minnesota appellate courts and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Briggs’ depth of experience stems from an understanding of the intricacies of appellate procedural rules and the art of crafting effective written and oral arguments. The firm has extensive experience with the state judiciary. Nearly fifty of our attorneys are former judicial clerks, with many having clerked for the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court. The strength of our appellate practice is heightened with the experience of Sam Hanson, former justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and former Minnesota Court of Appeals judge. We also have a former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk and several former law clerks for the U.S. Court of Appeals on our roster.

In addition, several attorneys have held, and currently hold, leadership positions with the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the Defense Research Institute, the MSBA Appellate Section and Appellate Council, the Eighth Circuit Bar Association, and Minnesota Defense Lawyer’s Amicus Curiae Committee, are contributing authors to leading appellate treatises; and routinely present at Continuing Legal Education seminars and other forums on Appellate issues. As a service to clients, Briggs and Morgan regularly monitors pending appeals, and often issues appellate alerts on its website because staying current on issues pending review is critical.

Briggs' appellate services include appellate advocacy and consultation and amicus representation.

Appellate Advocacy and Consultation

Our approach is best described as collaborative. Briggs’ appellate attorneys consult with trial counsel (both within and outside the firm) at the outset to shape a strong appellate strategy and direction.

Effective appellate advocacy requires knowledge of the technical aspects of appeals, objectivity and judicial perspective. Briggs’ practice is led by a respected former Minnesota Supreme Court justice, which enhances our ability to provide clients with a critical case analysis from the extraordinary viewpoint of a judge.

Appellate counsel advise trial counsel and amicus curiae on:

  • Case assessment: Objective evaluation of the merits, prioritizing issues for argument, preparing the record on appeal, and satisfying technical demands of the appellate rules of procedure;

  • Brief preparation: Writing, editing or critiquing briefs for effectiveness;

  • Oral arguments: Developing responses to potential questions from the court or organizing moot court sessions prior to argument.

Whether the goal is to preserve a favorable outcome or overturn a negative one, we assist in crafting persuasive arguments and strengthening appeals. To achieve this, we conduct mock arguments to help clients focus and prioritize issues on appeal.

Amicus Representation

Briggs' appellate counsel offers skilled representation of amicus curiae on matters of significance to diverse civic and trade groups. In this capacity, we organize amicus support and frequently write and file amici briefs on behalf of interested parties.

Representative Cases

The following provides an overview of recent, significant litigation for which our firm was involved:

  • SCI Minnesota Funeral Services, Inc. v. Washburn-McReavy Funeral Corp. (merger/acquisition dispute): Minnesota Supreme Court rejects mutual mistake arguments in stock transaction, holding that one company obtaining 100% control of another company in a $1 million stock sale also acquired $2 million in real estate assets owned by the target company even though the target company’s ownership of such assets was unknown to the particular seller and buyer representatives negotiating and executing the deal.

  • McIntosh County Bank et al. v. Dorsey & Whitney LLP (professional malpractice): Minnesota Supreme Court reversed court of appeals, ruling that an implied contractual attorney-client relationship cannot exist when an attorney is unaware of a third party’s identity, communications have not taken place, and there is no notice to the attorney of representation.

  • Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., Inc. (tribal law):  U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tribes do not have authority to adjudicate claims against non-members based simply on activities of non-members on fee land within a reservation, adopting the bright line rule urged in an amicus brief filed by Briggs and Morgan.

  • Culpepper v. Irwin Mortgage Corp. (mortgage lending practices – yield spread premiums): Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed decertification of the class and summary judgment to defendant lender after 11 years and four appeals.

Representative Matters

  • Bearder v. State (privacy of genetic information) - Minnesota Supreme Court held that state privacy act restricts collection, use, storage and dissemination of blood samples collected pursuant to newborn screening statutes.
  • Culpepper v. Irwin Mortgage Corp. (mortgage lending practices-yield spread premiums) - Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed decertification of the class and summary judgment to defendant lender after 11 years and four appeals.
  • Frieler v. Carlson Marketing Group, Inc. (employer liability in sexual harassment) - Minnesota Supreme Court rejected use of “knew or should have known” standard from Minnesota Human Rights Act in favor of federal standards.
  • Glorvigen v. Cirrus Design Corp. (product liability, scope of duty to warn)
  • Greer v. Professional Fiduciary, Inc. (amicus representation - liability of guardian/conservator)
  • Hoffman v. Northern States Power Co. (utilities and filed rate doctrine)
  • In re Hubbard (administrative law, reversing agency's decision) - Minnesota Supreme Court limited agency rulemaking by holding that rules adopted by the Department of Natural Resources were invalid.
  • In re Petition for Instructions to Construe Basic Resolution 876 of the Port Authority of the City of Saint Paul - Dispute between issuer of industrial development revenue bonds and holders of those bonds.
  • In re Xcel Energy’s Application for CapX 2020 (challenge to route permit) - Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed public utility commission’s decision, rejecting notice and environmental review challenges.
  • Inland Ryan LLC v. Halle Properties LLC (temporary injunction) - Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed district court's order directing retail store owners to comply with height restrictions in development contracts.
  • Kramer v. Perez (statutory spam e-mail) - Obtained a reversal of a judgment of over $236 million.
  • Lundeen v. Canadian Pacific Railway Co. (federal preemption)
  • Nixon v. Missouri Municipal League, 541 U.S. 125 (amicus representation)
  • Peterka v. Dennis: Obtained reversal at Minnesota Supreme Court for accountant who was entitled to immunity from suit for acts performed pursuant to court appointment as a neutral evaluator.
  • Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., Inc. (amicus representation - tribal law)
  • Responsible Governance for Roseville v. City of Roseville (citizen's group challenging bond issue)
  • SCI Minnesota Funeral Services, Inc. v. Washburn-McReavy Funeral Corp. (merger/acquisition dispute)
  • Stuart v. Stuart (right of first refusal) - Represented individual with entitlement to exercise right of first refusal to purchase real estate. Obtained reversal of district court's dismissal of lawsuit which led to favorable settlement.
  • Tatro v. University of Minnesota (amicus represenation - conduct code for social networking)
  • United Prairie Bank-Mountain Lake v. Haugen Nutrition & Equipment (attorneys’ fee award arising from contract)
  • Whitaker v. 3M Co. (amicus representation - class action certification)
  • Zimbovskiy v. Union Pacific Railway Co. (federal preemption for crossing accident)