Cohen & Grigsby’s seasoned appellate lawyers have broad experience in appellate courts at all levels of the state and federal court systems. Our attorneys have participated in landmark cases and have shaped the development of the law in a number of substantive areas. Our appellate Practice Group understands that effective persuasion requires an objective analysis of the issues, the ability to frame positions concisely, and a realistic assessment as to how a particular court or set of judges will receive the arguments being presented. We know the importance of presenting appellate cases with forceful oral arguments and persuasive legal briefs and understand the benefits of collaborating with trial counsel, both before and after trial, to effectuate the client’s goals.
Pennsylvania’s statewide appellate court system has unique characteristics that Cohen & Grigsby’s appellate lawyers understand through their extensive and diverse experience. The Commonwealth Court and Superior Court are coequal intermediate appellate courts with distinct jurisdictional responsibilities, hearing appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas or statewide agencies and governmental political entities. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, like the United States Supreme Court, selects appeals based on Petitions for Allowance of Appeal, hearing only those that present questions of first impression or those that would have broad impact on Pennsylvania’s jurisprudence. Our lawyers appreciate the critical distinction between seeking judicial review and handling an appeal. We also understand the important role amicus briefs may play and have coordinated such efforts where strong supportive viewpoints would add to a particular court’s consideration of a complex legal matter.
Cohen & Grigsby’s appellate lawyers have commensurate experience and expertise in federal court and have collectively practiced before various Circuit Courts of Appeal, including the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, D.C. and Federal circuits, as well as the United States Supreme Court. In both federal and state matters, appeals are frequently decided by the characterization of a legal issue, the preservation of a challenge at a trial, a clear and concise legal brief and a forceful and persuasive presentation to the court. As evidenced by their experience and success, our appellate attorneys understand the critical components of a successful appeal.
As reflected in these representative cases, our lawyers have handled appeals in diverse substantive areas, including administrative law, commercial, land use and real estate, intellectual property, labor and employment, tax, immigration and election law:
- Successfully challenged statewide reapportionment map which Supreme Court ruled had violated Pennsylvania Constitution. Holt v. 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Comm., 38 A.3d 711 (Pa. 2012).
- Established scope of statewide preemption associated with local regulation of gas drilling operations under the Oil & Gas Act. Huntley & Huntley, Inc. v. Borough Council of Oakmont, 964 A.2d 855 (Pa. 2009).
- Established the method of calculating fines for false marking under the Patent Act. The Forest Group v. Bon Tool Co., 590 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
- Established application of an indemnification provision, on behalf of a commercial entity, insulating company from exposure for numerous product liability cases. Parker Hannifin Corp. v. Dayco Products, LLC, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 9779 (6th Cir. 2005).
- Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in extensive litigation involving the effect of an Act 47 Recovery Plan in the public labor arbitration process. City of Scranton v. Fire Fighters Local Union No. 60, 29 A.3d 773 (Pa. 2011), reversing, City of Scranton v. Fire Fighters Local Union No. 60, 964 A.2d 464 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2009).
- Represented County Board of Commissioners in establishing fiscal control of court-related funds. Board of Comm’rs. of Bedford County v. President Judge of Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County, 92 A.3d 112 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014) (en banc).
- Represented Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, its Secretary, and the Act 47 Coordinator for Pittsburgh in litigation brought by the Fire and Police Unions, challenging provisions of the Pittsburgh Recovery Plan. Fraternal Order of Police v. Yablonsky, 867 A.2d 658 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005) (en banc) and Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Local No. 1 v. Yablonsky, 867 A.2d 666 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005) (en banc).
- Represented wireless carrier in Third Circuit case involving interplay between federal and state law. Nextel West Corp. v. Unity Township, 282 F.3d 257 (3d Cir. 2002).
- Represented wireless carrier in Third Circuit case involving challenges under the 1996 Telecommunications Act and Pennsylvania exclusionary zoning law. APT Pittsburgh Limited Partnership v. Penn Township, 196 F.3d 469 (3d Cir. 1999).
- Represented company that convinced court to adopt interpretation of a key provision in liability insurance policies (the “sudden and accidental pollution exclusion”), reversing established Pennsylvania law and marking a significant victory for policyholders. Sunbeam Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 781 A.2d 1189 (Pa. 2001).
- Represented Washington & Jefferson College in landmark State Supreme Court case establishing real estate tax-exemption status for independent college qualifying as a “public charity” under the state constitution. City of Washington v. Board of Appeals of Washington County and Washington & Jefferson College, 704 A.2d 120 (Pa. 1997).
- Represented independent power producer in Pennsylvania Supreme Court case involving interplay of federal and state law in compelling mandatory energy purchases. See Armco Advanced Materials Corporation, et al. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 634 A.2d 207 (Pa. 1993), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 311 (1994).
- Represented mine operator in obtaining land use approvals to drill for methane gas. Coal Gas Recovery v. Franklin Zoning Hearing Board, 944 A.2d 832 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008).
- Successfully represented Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee in challenge to third party U.S. Senate Candidate. In re Nomination Papers of Rogers, Pennsylvania Supreme and Commonwealth Courts, 913 A.2d 298 (Pa. Cmwlth, 2006) and 914 A.2d 457 (Pa. Cmwlth, 2006).
- Represented landowner in dispute with commercial tenant over allocation of substantial condemnation award. In re Condemnation of Property of HPT (McKeesport), 2013 WL 3982937 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2013).
- Represented landfill establishing non-conforming use and addressing issues concerning landfill capacity. Tri-County v. Pine Twp ZHB, 83 A.3d 488 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014).
- Participated in appeal involving siting and development of riverfront casino. Riverlife Task Force v. Planning Commission of Pittsburgh, 966 A.2d 551 (Pa. 2009).
- Established in Pennsylvania Supreme Court that an independent power producer has a right under federal law to obtain a contract to purchase energy. Pennsylvania Electric Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and American Power/CMS Generation, 677 A.2d 831 (Pa. 1996).
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