Effective appellate advocacy demands careful judgments. How can complex trial records be simplified? What arguments will appellate judges find persuasive? At Polsinelli, we have detailed experience in making these judgments in state and federal appellate courts throughout the country.

Skills necessary to mount successful appeals, or defend trial court judgments, do not always coincide with trial court experience. Understanding how appellate courts view issues is critical, as is knowledge of developing legal trends. Written arguments – not always demanded in trial practice – predominate on appeal, and oral arguments are typically legal question-and-answer exchanges rather than fact-based jury appeals. Our attorneys work to present issues simply and clearly, in interesting and persuasive briefs, using language familiar to appellate courts. And we strive to listen and respond directly to appellate judges’ stated concerns.

Polsinelli’s Appellate practice has broad experience both prosecuting and defending appeals. Our attorneys are part of every appeal generated by the firm’s extensive trial practice. We handle appeals, extraordinary writs, and amicus curiae filings on referral from outside counsel and clients, as well as all aspects of post-judgment proceedings in trial courts. Our attorneys also advise during trials on issues with appellate consequences, like jury instructions and error preservation, and frequently prepare critical, dispositive motions at the trial level, particularly in complex commercial cases. Three of the group’s members are former appellate judges, who are always available to consult on appeals, even when other group members may have primary responsibility. Polsinelli’s Appellate practice is ready to address any appellate need, whether it be consulting on issues and strategy, seeking further, discretionary review after an adverse appellate opinion, or coordinating all aspects of post-judgment proceedings in trial and appellate courts.

  • Reichle v. Howards
    Supreme Court of the United States, 2012 
    Successfully petitioned U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari and obtained reversal of Tenth Circuit opinion that had refused to grant qualified immunity to Secret Service agents protecting Vice President Cheney. Reported at 132 S. Ct. 2088.
  • In re Western States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation
    United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2013 
    Successfully obtained reversal of adverse summary judgment in antitrust price-fixing case. Reported at 715 F.3d 716.
  • In re T.Q.L.
    Missouri Supreme Court en banc 2012
    Summary (60 words): Obtained Missouri Supreme Court transfer and reversal of trial court judgment to allow petition for custody brought by third-party, non-biological acting parent to proceed. Reported at 386 S.W.3d 135.
  • Coffer v. Wasson-Hunt
    Missouri Supreme Court en banc 2009
    Retained after adverse court of appeals opinion. Successfully obtained transfer and reversal of circuit court opinion, thereby reinstating client’s decision to terminate employee. Reported at 281 S.W.3d 308
  • Empire District Electric Co. v. Coverdell
    Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District, 2011 
    Retained by appellant city after adverse trial court judgment. Successfully argued for and obtained reversal under plain error standard of review. Reported at 344 S.W.3d 842.
  • Doran v. Eckold
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit en banc 2005
    Retained by appellant after unsuccessful trial and initial appeal from $2 million adverse judgment. Obtained rehearing en banc and presented en banc oral argument. Judgment reversed and judgment directed for client in 8-4 opinion; certiorari denied. Reported at 409 F.3d 258.
  • Skaggs v. City of Kansas City, Missouri
    Missouri Court of Appeals, 2008 
    Successfully represented majority of city council in opposing effort to terminate city manager’s contract. Reported at 264 S.W.3d 694.
  • Vaughters v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City
    Missouri Court of Appeals, 2004 
    Represented defendant-appellant in appeal from judgment in breach of contract and breach of fiduciary relationship suit. Court reversed $4.25 million punitive damages award. Case then settled and opinion withdrawn.
  • Davolt v. O'Reilly Automotive, Inc.
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit 
    Represented appellant employer and ERISA plan administrator in medical coverage dispute with employee/beneficiary; obtained reversal on appeal and entry of judgment in defendant’s favor. Reported at 206 F.3d 806.
  • Transit Casualty Co. v. Selective Ins. Co.
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    Represented appellant reinsurer against an insolvent insurance company in a reinsurance contract dispute. Judgment reversed in part, allowing the client to take claimed offsets against the insolvent insurer. Reported at 137 F.3d 540.
  • Assicurazioni Generali v. Black & Veatch Corp.
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit 
    Represented appellee corporation on appeal in insurance coverage dispute. Judgment affirmed. Reported at 362 F.3d 1108.
  • Labatt Brewing Co., Ltd. v. Zurich Ins. Co.
    New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
    Summary (60 words): Represented appellee insurance company in coverage dispute. Judgment affirmed. Reported at 281 A.D.2d 363, 723 N.Y.2d 17.
  • Bowman v. Western Auto
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    Obtained reversal for appellant after first obtaining 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) certification on appeal in civil RICO action brought by employee; judgment entered for client on appeal. Reported at 985 F.2d 383.
  • H&R Block v. America Online, Inc.
    Missouri Court of Appeals
    Successfully represented respondent on appeal. $20 million verdict affirmed in full. Reported at 148 S.W.3d 878.
  • Central Telecommunications v. TCI Cablevision
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    Successfully represented appellee on appeal. $35 million judgment affirmed in full. Reported at 800 F.2d 711.
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