Appeals & Issues

McGuireWoods’ select team of lawyers brief and argue dozens of appeals every year in federal and state courts nationwide. Clients recognize that our appellate team is familiar with the players, tactics and battleground unique to appeals. Our clients trust us to attack dangerous losses and defend multimillion-dollar wins.

Our Team

Among its 1,100 lawyers, McGuireWoods maintains a hand-picked team of fewer than 40 attorneys with a special focus on appeals. These lawyers combine exceptional brief writing with the wisdom and voice of extensive experience. Team members include:

  • National lead appellate counsel for a Fortune 100 company
  • A former state solicitor general
  • A former associate White House counsel
  • Seven former U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • Former law clerks from numerous state and federal courts of appeal

Our Focus

Appeals usually are won by implementing a case-long strategy and providing cogent and powerful briefing. Thus, our appellate lawyers often work with trial teams to advance our clients’ positions long before the appeal begins. In writing, we pride ourselves on clarity and simplicity. Translating voluminous records or complex administrative matters into briefs that can persuade generalist judges is a key element of what we do. We aim to control the narrative − to explain not only why our clients are technically correct as a legal matter, but also why they should win.



    New York Court of Appeals upholds disposal of $11 million jury verdict

    In re New York city Asbestos Litigation, 48 N.Y.S.3d 365 (N.Y. 1st App. Div. 2017). McGuireWoods secured entry of judgment notwithstanding the verdict, persuading the trial court to throw out an $11 million verdict against Ford in an asbestos mesothelioma case. In a 3-1 decision, the New York Appellate Division affirmed, holding that that the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses on causation failed to meet the admissibility requirements for cases involving alleged exposure to toxic substances. This closely watched case involved the first application of New York’s heightened admissibility standards in an asbestos case.


    Fourth Circuit agrees not to revive wastewater suit

    Neal Blankenship and Emma Gay Blankenship v. Consolidation Coal Co. and Island Creek Coal Co. and Dianna L. Graham et al. v. Consolidation Coal Co. et al. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed decisions on two matters related to the disposal of excess wastewater from an underground mine. Plaintiffs asserted excess wastewater was unlawfully diverted into mine voids beneath their land, and the  applicable statutes of limitations were tolled pursuant to CERCLA. The Fourth Circuit rejected the tolling argument based on a lack of a CERCLA violation and that plaintiffs knew or should have known of the violations.


    Secured Fourth Circuit win for one of the largest producers and transporters of energy in the U.S.

    Virginia Elec. & Power Co. v. Bransen Energy, Inc., 850 F.3d 645 (4th Cir. 2017). The Fourth Circuit granted McGuireWoods a complete appellate victory—affirming a combined judgment amount of approximately $23 million—in a contract dispute that involved a complex set of interrelated coal supply and services agreements related Dominion's order of 600,000 tons of a specific coal product, which the seller fulfilled with different products that were unusable for Dominion's intended purpose.


    Secured reversal of key lower court ruling in recouping cleanup costs

    Asarco, LLC v. Noranda Mining, Inc., 844 F.3d 1201 (10th Cir. 2017). McGuireWoods obtained reversal of summary judgment in a case apportioning environmental liability under CERCLA.  This major victory re-opened the door for Asarco to seek contribution in numerous other cases as well because it rejected judicial estoppel of such claims based on Asarco’s bankruptcy proceedings.


    Secured favorable ruling for client in public bond matter in the Supreme Court of Virginia

    Cygnus Newport-Phase IB, LLC v. City of Portsmouth, 292 Va. 573, 790 S.E.2d 623 (2016).
    The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in favor of our client, affirming the validity of a special assessment lien against a challenge by property owners that would have had significant consequences for outstanding public bonds that special assessments were pledged to repay.

Team Leaders

Full Team
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