Litigation can often extend beyond the trial court and into various state and federal courts of appeals. 

This is especially likely in cases involving substantial judgments, business reputations, and emerging or unsettled areas of the law.  Because of this, Ice Miller’s Appellate Practice Group has the experience, skill and depth of knowledge to handle appeals at all levels of the state and federal appellate systems. 

Even before a trial begins, our litigators and appellate attorneys work together to identify legal issues and questions that must be preserved for appeal should there be an adverse outcome at trial.  Our appellate attorneys have the requisite skill and experience to write concise and persuasive briefs to whatever appellate court is presiding over the appeal.  This also involves an in-depth understanding of the applicable appellate rules and procedures.  Many of our appellate attorneys participate in committees that develop and revise appellate rules, speak at conferences that consider appellate rule-related issues and write articles evaluating and discussing these rules and procedures.

Our appellate attorneys are also often asked to file amicus briefs, or “friend of the court” briefs, with various appellate courts.  These briefs are written for clients who are not directly involved in an appeal, but whose interests will be directly impacted by that appeal’s outcome.  The purpose of amicus briefs is not to rehash legal arguments already before the subject appellate court but to provide a fresh outside perspective from an interested party.

Appellate courts often require oral argument to accompany the written briefs filed by the parties.  Our appellate attorneys have experience in oral argument before all levels of the state and federal appellate systems.  As with written arguments, our appellate attorneys recognize that a persuasive oral argument depends both on a clear and concise message, and addressing the specific questions posed by the justices of the subject appellate court.  This is achieved through an in-depth understanding of the underlying facts and legal arguments at issue, and through live practice sessions.

Ice Miller’s Appellate Practice Group is committed to putting its appellate skill and experience to use for clients who have legal issues and questions that extend beyond the trial court.  

Representative Experience

Smith Barney v. StoneMor Operating, LLC, 953 N.E.2d 554 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011)

Ice Miller represented a cemetery owner, StoneMor, and the trustee of various cemetery trusts who brought claims against various parties, including  Smith Barney, claiming that they engaged in a multi-state conspiracy to misappropriate trust funds.  In this case, Smith Barney alleged that an account agreement signed by a previous trustee required that the case be submitted to Arbitration.  Ice Miller was able to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals, the Indiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court that the account agreement did not bind StoneMor.

Bell v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 547 F.3d 796 (7th Cir. 2008)

Over 200 employees claimed DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ice Miller’s client, had breached its contractual obligation to certain workers who were laid off in the late 1970s and early 1980s by failing to recall these workers for later job openings. The district court sided with DaimlerChrysler and concluded the employees failed to exhaust their intra-union remedies before bringing suit.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously affirmed.  The court held there was an internal appellate process available to air the employees’ grievances, that it was adequate, and that the employees had an obligation follow that process before bringing their claims to federal court. 
Baude v. Heath, 538 F.3d 608 (7th Cir. 2008)
Indiana law allows wineries to ship to customers in Indiana if there is one face-to-face meeting at which the buyer’s age and other particulars can be verified.  A group of plaintiffs filed suit claiming the law violated the dormant commerce clause of the United States Constitution.  They argued the law unconstitutionally burdened out-of-state wineries and the Indiana residents who wanted to purchase their products.  Ice Miller represented the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Indiana, which intervened on the side of the state to defend the legislation.  The district court enjoined enforcement of the face-to-face requirement on the ground that it had a disparate impact on out-of-state  sellers.  But the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding the plaintiffs had failed to establish the law was unconstitutional. 
Bonney v. Indiana Finance Authority, 849 N.E.2d 473 (Ind. 2006) 
In a creative transaction that garnered national attention, Ice Miller’s client, the Indiana Finance Authority, leased the Indiana Toll Road to a private consortium for a term of 75 years.  In exchange, the consortium agreed to pay $3.8 billion in full at closing.  The legislation that enabled this transaction included a number of provisions that addressed how the funds were to be used.  Various plaintiffs sued the IFA, the Governor, and others claiming the enabling legislation was unconstitutional.  The trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ challenge in its entirety and sided with the IFA.  After an expedited appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed.
Wolf, et al. v Big Lots Stores, Inc.,  2008-Ohio-1837 (10th App. Dist.) 
Ice Miller’s client, Big Lots, was sued by a truck driver for negligence in connection with an accident that occurred in paved lot of Big Lots’ distribution facility which resulted in potentially catastrophic injuries. The truck driver was officially an employee of another company, but was working under Big Lots’ direction at the Big Lots facility.  Prior to filing his negligence claim against Big Lots, the truck driver had filed a workers’ compensation claim against his actual employer.  Ohio law holds that an employee cannot sue his/her employer for accidents which occur in the normal course and scope of their employment.  Big Lots was able to convince the trial court and the Tenth District Court of Appeals that because Big Lots effectively controlled the work movements and activities of the truck driver while he was at Big Lots, he was considered an employee of Big Lots and, therefore, unable to sure Big Lots for negligence.  The Ohio Supreme Court denied the truck driver’s appeal to the hear the case.
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