Appeals in State and Federal Courts

I litigate appeals in state and federal courts across the country. As an appellate lawyer, I handle a wide variety of cases. Some appeals involve issues important only to the litigants, while other appeals raise issues of broad public concern, testing the social questions of the day against the law, creating legal and political tension. A few of the more interesting appeals include the following cases:

US v. Chube
One important decision on appeal is from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of US v. Chube (212 KB), decided August 15, 2008.

This Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals opinion is a big victory for any physician practicing anywhere in the United States defending against Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) inquiries, investigations, or prosecutions because this opinion best illustrates the differences between the civil standard of care and the criminal conviction standard and the harm that will attach to physicians when these two distinctly different legal standards are confused or conflated.This win on appeal was also a huge victory for my clients, two Gary, Indiana, physicians, because it vacated their 15-year and five-year sentences, and returned their case to the federal trial court for re-sentencing. Perhaps more importantly, after an additional two and one-half months of intense litigation with the U.S. Attorney’s office and a series of thoughtful rulings from the District Court, both physicians were released from federal prison pending resentencing.

Library Staff has included this appeal in its listing of “Notable Oral Arguments” heard before the Seventh Circuit over the past 15 years.

Gonzales v. Oregon
Eli StutsmanAnother win on appeal is from the United States Supreme Court in the case of Gonzales v. Oregon (406 KB), decided January 17, 2006. In this decision, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion (263 KB), which had earlier affirmed the federal District Court’s opinion (1.78 MB) enjoining former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft from prosecuting Oregon physicians and pharmacists.

The formal case citations in this litigation are as follows:

In this case, I sued former Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (see Complaint (1.24 MB)) in federal District Court on behalf of a physician and a pharmacist who were threatened with federal criminal investigations, prosecutions, fines, and imprisonment. The Attorney General lost at all three levels–in the trial court, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the United States Supreme Court.

This opinion by the United States Supreme Court is an important victory for physicians, pharmacists, and patients everywhere, because it establishes the precedent that the United States Attorney General may not define the scope of legitimate medical practice, and that the States, not the federal government, regulate the practice of medicine. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority of the Court, concluded his 28 page opinion writing:

The Government, in the end, maintains that the prescription requirement delegates to a single Executive officer the power to effect a radical shift of authority from the States to the Federal Government to define general standards of medical practice in every locality. The text and structure of the CSA show that Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance and the congressional role in maintaining it. Gonzales v. Oregon (406 KB)(Kennedy, J.)

The Gonzales v. Oregon litigation spanned five years, from 2002 through 2006. We won at all three levels, in the federal trial court, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the United States Supreme Court. This victory secured the fate of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, passed by Oregon voters in 1994 twelve years earlier.

The Gonzales v. Oregon litigation was not, however, the first time we defended the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in the federal courts. The first round of federal court litigation spanned three years, from 1994 to 1997. In this case, the federal trial enjoined the Oregon Death with Dignity Act from taking effect immediately after its passage. We appealed and won a reversal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, vacating the lower court’s judgment and injunction, and allowing the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to become law three years after its passage. The formal citation to that case is Lee v. State of Oregon, 107 F.3d 1382 (9th Cir. 1997).

The Oregon Death with Dignity Act is now established public policy and serves as the model legislation for other states. Read more about two of the laws on the states’ department of health websites:

Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team v. Kitzhaber
Another victory on appeal came from the Oregon Supreme Court in the case of Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team v. Kitzhaber (3.51 MB), decided October 19, 2006. In this decision, the Oregon Supreme Court reversed the Oregon Court of Appeals in favor of my clients, the sponsors of Ballot Measure 3-2000. With this victory fresh in hand, Ballot Measure 3-2000 was the only constitutional amendment from the 2000 election that remained in effect after legal challenges. Ballot Measure 3-2000 was also one of the very few constitutional amendments to survive a separate-vote challenge in recent Oregon history.

O’Donnell – Lamont & Lamont
Still another important decision on appeal came in the case of O’Donnell-Lamont & Lamont (260 KB), decided June 10, 2004. In this unanimous decision, the Oregon Supreme Court reversed the Oregon Court of Appeals in favor of my clients. This case is an important victory for children throughout Oregon because it establishes the new legal precedent to be applied in future third-party child custody disputes.

Lillian Jane DiAmico v. Robert Ellinwood, Ill
Another important win on appeal came in the case of Lillian Jane DiAmico v. Robert Ellinwood, III (1.1 MB), decided December 13, 2006. In this 3-0 decision, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court (trial court), in favor of my client, a seven-year-old child. This case is an important victory for children throughout Oregon because it preserves the statutory process intended by the Legislative Assembly to establish paternity against the types of defenses raised by Mr.Ellinwood against Lillian in the trial court.

Appellate Practice – Family Law

Although my practice hasn’t always handled family law appeals, I have had significant successes since first jumping into the arena in 2002. Today I handle appeals involving divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Although this is difficult and sometimes heart wrenching work, it is also rewarding to assist those experiencing a difficult time in life.

Two notable decisions obtained as a family law appeals attorney

  • In 2002, I took up on appeal the case of O’Donnell-Lamont & Lamont (260 KB), and won a reversal on June 10, 2004. In this unanimous 7-0 decision, the Oregon Supreme Court applied a recent holding of the United States Supreme Court and reversed the Oregon Court of Appeals in favor of my clients. This case is an important victory for children throughout Oregon because it establishes the legal precedent to be applied in future third-party child custody disputes, affording more protection for children. Read more…
  • A few years later, I took up on appeal the case of Lillian Jane DiAmico v. Robert Ellinwood, III (1.1 MB), and won a reversal on December 13, 2006. In this 3-0 decision, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court (trial court), in favor of my client, Lillian, a seven-year-old child. This case is an important victory for children throughout Oregon because it preserves the statutory process intended by the Legislative Assembly to establish paternity against the types of defenses raised by Mr. Ellinwood against Lillian in the trial court. Read more…

Please call to learn more about my appellate practice, 503.274.4048.

2 comments on “Appeals

  1. Keesha on

    Ce que je voulais dire, c’est que Maurice Druon fait preuve d’une vulgarité sans nom. Le bon français n&Ãhªuo;emprqcse pas la vulgarité.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.