Pierce Atwood’s Appellate & Amici practice stands out for the breadth and depth of its experience. Collectively, our Appellate & Amici team has argued or briefed hundreds of cases at all levels of appellate courts across the country. Catherine Connors, the leader of the practice, alone has argued more than 100 appeals. Our lawyers are admitted in and have argued in the United States Supreme Court, every federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and various state Supreme Courts. The Pierce Atwood team includes the former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court as well as attorneys who have served as law clerks to federal and state appellate judges. While recognized in various ways – The Best Lawyers in America® lists our appellate practice in Tier 1 in Portland, Maine in its “Best Law Firms” ranking – perhaps the most telling sign of its excellence is the U.S. Supreme Court’s selection of Pierce Atwood lawyers to serve as special masters in original jurisdiction cases for that Court an unprecedented five times.
Areas of Expertise
Increasingly, clients recognize the importance of having a say in cases in which they are not direct parties, but the outcomes of which may affect their interests in profound ways. Our practice includes a robust amici component, representing government officials and bodies and legal and corporate coalitions in presenting the views of interested individuals and entities as friends of the court. Representative appeals in which we have filed briefs on behalf of amici curiae include:
- Black & Decker v. Nord, 538 U.S. 822 (2003) (representing American Council of Life Insurers)
- Windsor v. U.S., 699 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2012) and Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 682 F.3d 1 (2012) (representing coalition of historians in support of challenging the Defense of Marriage Act)
- National Organization for Marriage, Inc. v. McKee, 699 F.3d 64 (1st Cir. 2012) and National Organization for Marriage v. Daluz, 654 F.3d 115 (1st Cir. 2011) (representing Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders defending against challenges to Massachusetts and Rhode Island election disclosure law).
- Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, Ltd., Docket No. Was-17-142 (Me.) (representing Maine Department of Marine Resources in action pending before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court addressing the ownership of seaweed in the intertidal zone and the scope of the public easement under the Colonial Ordinance).
- Appeal of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Inc., 164 A.3d 103 (N.H. 2017) (representing utilities in tax appeal).
- State v. Sudsbury, 2016 ME 25 (representing the American Civil Liberties Union in reversal of criminal conviction).
- Galouch v. Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, 2015 ME 44 (representing the Maine State Chamber of Commerce defending against Whistleblowers’ Protection Act claim)
- Bank of America, N.A. v. Cloutier, 2013 ME 17 (representing the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation in foreclosure action).
- Hebron Academy, Inc. v. Town of Hebron, 2013 ME 15 (representing Maine Association of Independent Schools in tax appeal).
From admiralty to antitrust, banking to bankruptcy, commercial to constitutional, energy to environmental, tax to trademark, our lawyers have argued successfully at the appellate level in almost every area of the law. Representative recent matters include:
- Penobscot Nation v. Mills, 861 F.3d 324 (1st Cir. 2017) (representing coalition of municipalities and other river users defending against an action brought by the Penobscot Nation asserting that its reservation boundaries extended into the Penobscot River in Maine).
- Carnicella v. Mercy Hospital, 2017 ME 161 (representing hospital defending against discrimination claim).
- Opinion of the Justices, 2017 ME 100 (representing Republican Caucus of the Maine House of Representatives in striking down ranked choice voting as unconstitutional).
- Valente v. T.D. Bank, N.A, 92 Mass.App.Ct. 141 (2017) (representing bank defending against claim of negligence in claim governed by UCC § 4-406(f)).
- Arundel Valley, LLC v. Branch River Plastics, Inc., 2016 ME 175 (representing a manufacturer and distributor of insulated roofing panels in complex construction dispute).
- Merrimon v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 758 F.3d 46 (1st Cir. 2014), and Vander Luitgaren v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 765 F.3d 59 (1st Cir. 2014) (representing life insurance companies in ERISA litigation regarding the use of retained asset accounts to pay death benefits).
- America v. Sunspray Condominium Ass’n, 2013 ME 19 (representing condominium association against claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and negligence).
The firm’s appellate practice extends not just to appeals from lower courts to appellate courts, but the specialized area of judicial appeals from regulatory decisions issued by federal, state and local administrative bodies. We have argued hundreds of such appeals, drafting the chapter on appellate practice in A Practical Guide to Superior Court Practice in Maine (MCLE). Representative regulatory appeals include:
- Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, 128 S.Ct. 2733 (2008) (representing California Electricity Oversight Board in challenge to decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).
- Black Oak Energy, LLC v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 725 F.3d 230 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (representing virtual traders in challenging FERC recoupment orders).
- Maine v. Johnson, 498 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 2007) (representing coalition challenging EPA Clean Water Act decision).
- Conservation Law Foundation v. Public Utilities Commission, 2017 ME 109 (representing gas utility in affirmance of PUC decision).
- Fox Islands Wind Neighbors v. Department of Environmental Protection, 2015 ME 53 (representing wind generator permittee defending against challenge to condition compliance order).
- Watts v. Board of Environmental Protection, 2014 ME 91 (representing hydroelectric facility permittee defending against challenge to water quality certification under the Clean Water Act and state law.)
- Navy Yard Four Associates, LLC v. Department of Environmental Protection, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 213 (2015) (representing owner of luxury apartment building in challenge to validity of state waterways regulations)