Appellate Advocacy

Appellate Advocacy

There is a science to advancing an appeal. The successful appellate advocate follows the rules and knows the deadlines. The advocate writes clearly and concisely, with laser focus on highlighting the key facts and pertinent authorities that bolster the client’s position. Contrary arguments and authorities are distinguished, and the relevant issues are framed for instant comprehension.

Appellate advocacy also is an art. The successful appellate advocate radiates confidence and credibility in presenting oral argument. All essential points are communicated clearly and efficiently, and the court’s concerns are addressed and resolved head-on, with no waffling. The successful advocate has the experience to stay on target, but is nimble and can pivot if necessary to address side issues effectively.

Bowles Rice’s appellate advocates are skilled in the art and science of winning appeals and presenting the policy views of amicus curiae. Led by West Virginia's former representative on the Advisory Committee on Rules and Procedures for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, our team is comprised of the top litigators and former state and federal law clerks from the firm’s substantive practice areas.

We have experience winning appeals at all levels, including but not limited to the United States Courts of Appeal and state supreme courts. Recent victories in the oil and gas law, contract law, constitutional law, employment law, medical malpractice law, and education law contexts include:

  • Board of Education of Wyoming County v. Dawson, No. 22-0234 (W. Va. 2023) (unanimous reversal and dismissal of Circuit Court and Grievance Board decisions)
  • Collingwood Appalachian Minerals, III, LLC v. Erlewine, __ S.E.2d __, 2023 WL 4013373 (W. Va. June 15, 2023) (holding caselaw voiding deeds that result from duplicate assessments is inapplicable where each of the underlying surface and mineral assessments are in fact delinquent; no due process concern where a fellow tax-sale purchaser, rather than a delinquent landowner, seeks to set aside tax-sale deed); 
  • Monaco v. WV Parkways Auth., 57 F.4th 185 (4th Cir. 2023) (holding in matter of first impression that state agency's claim to sovereign immunity was sufficiently strong to trigger provision of Class Action Fairness Act foreclosing diversity jurisdiction);
  • State ex rel. 3C LLC v. O’Briant, 875 S.E.2d 273 (W. Va. 2022) (granting writ of prohibition and remanding case where trial court failed to properly evaluate whether distributor of vaping cartridges rebutted presumption of enforceability of forum-selection clause in its contract with manufacturer);
  • Jefferson Cnty. Found., Inc. v. W. Virginia Econ. Dev. Auth., 875 S.E.2d 162 (W. Va. 2022) (holding sale-leaseback financing arrangement for manufacturing facility did not violate constitutional guarantee of equal and uniform taxation);
  • Bukovinsky v. Wheeling-Nisshin Inc., 2022 WL 1467718 (4th Cir. May 10, 2022) (unpublished) (affirming dismissal of employment discrimination claims alleged under Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Civil Rights Act);
  • State ex rel. W. Virginia Univ. Hosps., Inc. v. Nelson, 857 S.E.2d 923 (W. Va. 2021) (holding in matter of first impression that claim for third-party medical negligence under the Medical Professional Liability Act arises in county where provider rendered or failed to render services with allegedly willful, wanton, or reckless disregard of a foreseeable risk of harm to third persons); and
  • Webster Cnty. Bd. of Educ. v. Davis, 856 S.E.2d 661 (W. Va. 2021) (holding school service personnel classifications of Aide and Early Childhood Classroom Assistant Teacher accrue seniority independently from each other for purposes of reduction in force, such that only seniority for specific classification subject to reduction is considered in ranking seniority of affected personnel).  

Through frequent appearances in state and federal courts and administrative tribunals, Bowles Rice’s appellate advocates have earned the respect of judges, clients, and peers. Ours is the "go-to" team for evaluating and advancing appeals throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding region.

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