Experience

Appellate

Our appellate practice enjoys an outstanding reputation because our appellate lawyers are committed to excellence in every aspect of the appeal process. We delve into the trial-court record to determine the most viable arguments to present (and not to present) on appeal. Our appellate lawyers thoroughly research the legal principles that control the particular issues presented on appeal. We pride ourselves on submitting excellently-written appellate briefs that contain persuasive arguments based on sound legal analysis. It is essential to us that our written submissions accurately cite the record and the applicable legal authority. Likewise, we take great care in preparing to deliver an oral argument that is both thoughtful and persuasive.

At bottom, whether the goal is to preserve a multi-million dollar jury award or obtain the reversal of a criminal conviction, we endeavor to craft briefs, petitions, and oral arguments that educate the appellate judges while forcefully advocating for our clients.

Our clients’ appeals span a wide range of matters, including commercial law, real estate law, insurance coverage, products liability, attorney-client privilege, professional liability, antitrust, and, landlord-tenant matters. We handle civil and criminal appeals before Maryland state appellate courts and United States Courts of Appeals throughout the country, including the Second Circuit, Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit, Eighth Circuit, and D.C. Circuit. Throughout the firm's history, our lawyers have participated in noteworthy appeals that have addressed important matters of public interest and have resolved novel questions of Maryland law.

Our appellate team has lawyers with backgrounds and experiences that are particularly well-suited for representing clients in appeals. Our team includes:

  • A former deputy chief of an appellate division of the Office of the Maryland Attorney General;
  • The Chair of the Appellate Practice Committee of the Litigation Section of the Maryland State Bar Association;
  • A member of the Criminal Justice Act appellate panels for the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit,
  • Six permanent members of the Judicial Conference for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; and
  • Several former judicial law clerks to various appellate judges, including the Senior Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland and judges of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

Many of our attorneys are thought leaders on the latest developments in appellate law at both the state and federal level. Our attorneys have written and lectured widely on appellate litigation. One of our attorneys is a co-author of the authoritative handbook, "Appellate Practice for the Maryland Lawyer: State and Federal, Fifth Edition," and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Maryland Appellate Blog, both published by the Maryland State Bar Association.

Representative Matters

Important Appellate Victory on Expert Testimony in the Court of Appeals of Maryland
Firm principals Natalie McSherry and Chris Jeffries served on the appellate team that successfully argued on behalf of the defendant-landlord that an expert witness did not have a sufficient factual basis to opine that lead exposure caused the plaintiff's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. At the conclusion of the trial in Rochkind v. Stevenson, a jury awarded the plaintiff $753,000 in economic damages and $700,000 in non-economic damages. On appeal, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed the award. Maryland's highest court reversed the Court of Special Appeals, holding that the trial court erred in admitting the expert testimony. As a result, the Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Court of Special Appeals for an order vacating the monetary judgment and remanding the case to the Circuit Court for a new trial on the issue of damages. On July 22, 2017, the Daily Record reported on the decision in an article titled Court of Appeals rejects expert testimony linking lead exposure, ADHD.

Summary Judgment for Law Firm Charged with Malpractice
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment obtained by Jim Ulwick and Jean Lewis on behalf of a law firm sued for legal malpractice. The plaintiff alleged 13 separate acts of malpractice and sought $17 million in damages. Jim and Jean successfully moved to have the case withdrawn from the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and obtained summary judgment on all counts in the district court.

Fourth Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of City's Changes to Public Safety Unions' Pension Program
In a major victory for Kramon & Graham client, the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of changes made to the public safety unions' pension plan in 2010. According to the federal appeals court, the changes did not constitute impairments within the meaning of the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision in favor of the City that changes to active employees' pensions did not constitute a federal impairment and reversed the district court's determination that the changes made to retirees' plans did [opinion]. Jim Ulwick and Jean Lewis represented the City at trial, on appeal, and before the City Council in 2010 as the legislation at issue was enacted.

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