Brian D. Schmalzbach


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  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Articles Development Editor, Virginia Law Review, 2010
  • University of Virginia, BA, Classics and Religious Studies, with Distinction, 2007
  • Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Brian concentrates on appellate litigation, high-stakes dispositive motions in trial courts, and strategic analysis for a broad range of clients. He has drafted U.S. Supreme Court merits briefs and petitions for certiorari, as well as briefs and motions in federal and state appellate and trial courts regarding a wide range of issues including administrative law, civil RICO, class actions, constitutional law, corporate merger litigation, patent litigation, and tort law.  Brian also serves as pro bono counsel to civil rights plaintiffs in state and federal courts of appeals.  He is a regular speaker on the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate litigation issues.

Before joining McGuireWoods, Brian served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Brian graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as articles development editor on the managing board of the Virginia Law Review.

In the News

Brian Schmalzbach
T: +1 804 775 4746F: +1 804 698 2304Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916
U.S. Supreme Court

Collins v. Virginia, No. 16-1027 (2018)
In an 8-1 decision safeguarding residential privacy rights, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that police generally must obtain a warrant before entering the curtilage of a home to search a parked vehicle.

Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, No. 16-1215 (2018)
Represented amicus National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center in a bankruptcy case with serious recordkeeping implications for small business creditors.

Florida v. Harris, 133 S. Ct. 1050 (2013)
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed that an alert by a well-trained narcotics-detection dog creates probable cause to search an automobile for drugs.

United States v. Woods, 134 S. Ct. 557 (2013)
The Supreme Court addressed whether partnership-level tax proceedings can determine certain penalties on partners, and whether the economic substance doctrine can trigger tax penalties for valuation misstatements.

Courts of Appeals

The Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for a major national bank because the Homeowners Protection Act does not require lenders to disclose mortgage insurance purchased by lenders after closing and for which borrowers are not charged.  888 F.3d 117 (4th Cir. 2018)

The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of a major national bank in a long-running Truth in Lending Act (TILA) dispute, holding that a frequently used acknowledgement form created a presumption that the borrowers had received sufficient copies of a required TILA notice, and that the borrowers’ evidence did not rebut that presumption. 883 F.3d 1010 (8th Cir. 2018) (argued)

The Fifth Circuit upheld diversity jurisdiction based on the citizenship of the trustee of a mortgage trust and affirmed the full dismissal of wrongful foreclosure claims against a major national bank.  881 F.3d 933 (5th Cir. 2018)

The Fourth Circuit reversed summary judgment against our client’s 8th Amendment claim that a prison guard allowed him to be assaulted by his cellmate. 817 F.3d 123 (4th Cir. 2016) (argued)

The Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal of a patent infringement lawsuit against our client, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, because the asserted patent claimed a patent-ineligible abstract idea. 669 F. App’x 555 (Fed. Cir. 2016)

The Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal of a patent infringement lawsuit against our client, a major financial services company, because the asserted patent claimed a patent-ineligible abstract idea. 677 F. App’x 682 (Fed. Cir. 2016)

United States v. Williams, 808 F.3d 253 (4th Cir. 2015)
In a case where we served as court-appointed amicus, the Fourth Circuit addressed the effect of amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines on eligibility for reduced sentences for prisoners who were sentenced based on statutory mandatory minimums.  The Supreme Court later adopted our position in Koons v. United States, No. 17-5716 (2018).

Supreme Court of Virginia

Brooks v. Commonwealth, No. 141821 (Va. 2015)
After reading our brief, the Solicitor General of Virginia confessed error and asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to reverse summary judgment against our client’s tort claim for an attack by a riot-control dog.

Contributor, "Hasty Changes to Mandatory Sentencing Could Prove Unwise," The National Law Journal, August 31, 2015
Note, Confusion and Coercion in Church Property Litigation, 96 VA. L. REV. 443, 2010
Panelist, "A Look Ahead at the 2016-17 Term," U.S. Supreme Court Preview, October 19, 2016
Panelist, "Seeking and Defending Certiorari in Washington," Virginia Bar Association Appellate Summit, September 30, 2015
Panelist, "The Roberts Court at Age 10: The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court Term in Review," 126th Summer Meeting of the Virginia Bar Association, July 22, 2016
Panelist, "A Look at Decisions Impacting the Business Community," Fourth Circuit Year in Review, McGuireWoods LLP Webinar, June 18, 2015
Panelist, "Florida v. Harris and Florida v. Jardines," Georgetown Law Supreme Court Institute, 2012