Appeals

Over the years, we have handled hundreds of appeals for our clients. Our attorneys have appeared before administrative agencies, the Vermont Supreme Court, and federal appellate courts – including the United States Supreme Court. Many of our attorneys have served as judicial law clerks in the Vermont Supreme Court or in the federal courts. Our extensive resources allow us to produce high-quality appellate briefs and oral arguments for clients or for trial counsel who need assistance on appeal.

Many of our appeals have resulted in groundbreaking decisions involving fundamental rights. We have been involved in a number of major civil rights cases in Vermont, including: Baker v. State of Vermont, which established that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as married couples; Brigham v. State of Vermont, which established the right to equal educational opportunity under the Vermont Constitution; Chittenden Town School District v. Vermont Department of Education, which clarified the lines of separation between church and state under Vermont law; and Randall v. Sorrell, which went to the United States Supreme Court, and which upheld the First Amendment free speech rights of political candidates and campaign supporters.

Many other cases have been significant primarily to our clients, but nonetheless established important legal principles. For example, in family law, Manosh v. Manosh established the ability to re-open property settlement based upon unconscionability and Klein v. Klein established the parameters for permanent spousal maintenance. In the personal injury field: Dalury v. S-K-I, Ltd. held that a ski area’s exculpatory release was void as contrary to public policy; Peck v. Counseling Service of Addison County, Inc. established the duty of mental health practitioners to warn of potential violence by patients; and Arnold v. Palmer, which allowed an employee who died as a result of working in an unsafe building to pursue the owner. Foote v. Simmonds Precision Products Co., Inc. established the doctrine of promissory estoppel in the employment context, and Cooperative Fire Ins. v. White Caps, Inc. abolished the longstanding rule that untimely notice automatically results in forfeiture under insurance policies. In the area of real estate, Bianchi v. Lorenz held that violation of a zoning ordinance can constitute an encumbrance on title and State v. Central Vermont Railway, Inc. construed the extent of the public trust doctrine. In criminal law, Hernandez v. U.S., held that an attorney’s failure to prosecute an appeal in a timely manner on behalf of a criminal defendant constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. In the environmental field, Allen v. Uni-First Corp.,established the right to recover for “stigma” damages in pollution cases and International Paper Co. v. Ouelette, which twice went to the United States Supreme Court, established that citizens of one state injured by pollution emanating from another state are not pre-empted by federal regulations from common-law recoveries.