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Appellate

Our firm’s experience as appellate counsel spans hundreds of appeals in both federal and state appellate courts. While most of our appellate work arises out of our trial practice, we are also regularly retained to prepare amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs on issues of broad significance, to evaluate the merits of potential appeals, and to provide second opinions in complex matters tried by other counsel.

We have represented clients on appeal in numerous high-profile cases, and in cases that present issues of first impression, including the fiduciary duties owed by shareholders in closely held corporations; the assignability of legal malpractice claims; the standard for proving “defamation by conduct”; the standards governing attorneys in law firm dissolutions; the burden of proof in automobile crashworthiness cases; standards for expert testimony on alleged product defects; the circumstances under which an insurer may be found to have waived coverage defenses, or to be estopped from asserting them; the scope of the executive privilege as applied to discovery requests; and the parameters of the “discovery rule” as applied to statutes of limitations.

Representative Appeals:

Christensen v. Thornton, 83 Mass.App.Ct. 1133 (2013) (appeal from dismissal of claims in product-liability case involving industrial fan)

Regis College v. Town of Weston, 462 Mass. 280 (2012) (appeal by private college seeking declaration that proposed development of residential and educational facilities was exempt from local zoning laws)

Ware Real Estate LLC v. Town of Ware, 81 Mass.App.Ct. 1120 (2012) (appeal by town from trial court victory by owners of construction-and-demolition waste-recycling facility)

Osorio v. One World Technologies, Inc., 659 F.3d 81 (1st Cir. 2011) (product liability case involving "SawStop" table-saw technology and product "category liability")

Vargas-Rivera v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 79 Mass.App.Ct. 1107 (2011) (appeal from dismissal of case involving alleged electric shock from escalator)

Lemos v. Electrolux North America, Inc., 78 Mass.App.Ct. 376 (2010) (appeal from dismissal of unfair-insurance-practices claims against product manufacturer and captive insurer)

Davagian v. Cape Codder Condominium Trust, 77 Mass.App.Ct. 1104 (2010) (challenge to conduct of condominium trustees in conditioning disbursal of insurance proceeds on execution of release)

Pierce v. Pierce, 455 Mass. 286 (2009) (case of first impression addressing the effect of retirement at a customary age on the ability to pay alimony)

Hingham Mutual Fire Ins. Co. v. Mercurio, 71 Mass. App. Ct. 21 (2008) (insurance coverage)

Pierce v. Morrison Mahoney LLP, 452 Mass. 718 (2008) (business litigation - representation of former law firm partners in dispute over their partnership interests after their departure from the firm)

Bank v. Thermo Elemental, Inc., 451 Mass. 638 (2008) (successful pursuit of contractual indemnity claim and environmental response cost recovery action)

Friends and Fishers of the Edgartown Great Pond Inc. v. Department of Environmental Protection, et al., 446 Mass. 830 (2006) (environmental law – upholding groundwater discharge permit for operation of municipal wastewater treatment plant)

Safety Ins. Co. v. Day, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 15 (2005) (insurance law - estoppel)

Sevigny v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, 411 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 2005) (reinsurance - insolvency)

Gillespie v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 386 F.3d 21 (1st Cir. 2004) (product liability – reversal of jury verdict for plaintiff in case involving alleged defective design of table saw)

Phelan v. May Dept. Stores, 443 Mass. 52 (2004) (employment - standard for proving defamation by conduct in workplace)

Grant v. Hexalon Real Estate, Inc., 51 Mass. App. Ct. 1111 (2001) (business interpretation of sub-contractor indemnity statute)

In re: Canavan, 432 Mass. 304 (2000) (product liability - standard for expert testimony in so-called “junk science” case, amicus brief)

New Hampshire Insurance Company, Inc. v. McCann, 429 Mass. 202 (1999) (professional liability - case of first impression addressing assignability of legal malpractice claims in Massachusetts)

Demoulas v. Demoulas, 428 Mass. 555 (1998) (business litigation - addressing claims of breach of fiduciary duty in context of closely held corporation)

Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Ass’n of Massachusetts v. Goldberg, 425 Mass. 46 (1998) (insurance - standard for insurer’s right to reimbursement of settlement costs)

Lally v. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, 45 Mass. App. Ct. 317 (1998) (product liability - first case in Massachusetts to address standard for proving causation and enhancement of injury in crashworthiness cases)

Demoulas v. Demoulas Super Markets, Inc., 424 Mass. 501 (1997) (business litigation - shareholder derivative suit - closely held corporation)

Merrimack Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Nonaka, 414 Mass. 187 (1993) (insurance coverage - standard for claim of estoppel and waiver)

Riley v. Presnell, 409 Mass. 239 (1991) (professional liability - applying discovery rule to statute of limitations in psychiatric malpractice clam)

Worcester Insurance v. Fells Acres Day School, 408 Mass. 393 (1990) (insurance coverage - establishing as matter of first impression lack of coverage for sexual-abuse claim under homeowner’s policy and business owner’s insurance policy)

Meehan v. Shaughnessy, 404 Mass. 419 (1989) (law firm dissolutions - setting standard for duties owed in context of law firm breakup and related disputes over clients and fees)

Babets v. Secretary of Executive Office of Human Services, 403 Mass. 230 (1988) (pro bono, declining to find constitutional basis for or to create “executive privilege”)

Pollock v. Marshall, 391 Mass. 543 (1984) (professional liability/business - establishing rules governing business dealings between attorney and client)

McKinnon v. Skil Corporation, 638 F.2d 270 (1st Cir. 1981) (product liability - upholding exclusion of OSHA regulations and admissibility of UL standard as to standard of care, and addressing circumstances under which evidence of other accidents is admissible in products case)

Find a complete list of appellate decisions here.

For more information regarding our appellate expertise, please contact Susan A. Hartnett at hartnett@srbc.com or 617-227-3030.

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