Appellate Litigation

Appellate litigation involves distinct skills, knowledge, and strategy. Both what to argue and how to argue it are important considerations that can determine the success or failure of an appeal. This applies to both written and oral advocacy at the appellate level.

Effective appellate advocacy requires a different approach than trial litigation. Unlike in a trial proceeding, an appellate jurist is bound to the existing record and rulings from the trial court and to a distinct standard by which the lower court ruling is reviewed. Unlike a trial proceeding, an appellate jurist must consider both the case before the Court, as well as the potential ramifications of the Court’s decision in future cases. These realities necessarily impact the preparation and presentation of a case, both at trial and before the appellate court. The involvement of experienced appellate counsel is invaluable at each stage of this process.

The lawyers at ThompsonMcMullan have the experience, knowledge, and skill to successfully represent clients in appellate matters. Beginning with the filing of a lawsuit and at each stage of litigation, ThompsonMcMullan’s appellate attorneys provide the necessary experience and knowledge of appellate rules, procedures, strategies, and advocacy to obtain the best result for our clients. ThompsonMcMullan offers a full range of appellate services including:

  • Consultation regarding both pre- and post-trial motions, and preserving issues for appeal;
  • Consultation regarding the advisability of pursuing an appeal in light of the trial record and potential bases for appellate review;
  • Perfecting a timely appeal;
  • Briefing and arguing the appeal;
  • Post-ruling issues, such as recovering costs or filing a petition for rehearing.

Our appellate practitioners have clerked in both state and federal courts, and include a former clerk of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. We have extensive experience practicing before the Supreme Court of Virginia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Among our many notable cases are:

  • Rafalko v. Georgiadis,  Record No. 141533 (Sup. Ct. Va. 2015), involving the administration of a trust and the interpretation of a No Contest Clause;
  • Lucas v. Woody, 287 Va. 354 (2014), analyzing the applicability of the statute of limitations to an action arising from conditions of confinement;
  • Rogers v. Stem, 590 Fed. Appx. 201 (4th Cir. 2014), answering whether a law enforcement officer was entitled to qualified immunity for claims brought under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments;
  • Daniels v. Mobley, 285 Va. 402 (2013), addressing a declaratory judgment action to determine whether Texas Hold ‘Em was illegal gambling;
  • Lewis v. Kei, 281 Va. 715 (2011), involving defamation, malicious prosecution, and false imprisonment claims against a law enforcement officer;
  • King v. McMillan, 594 F.3d 301 (4th Cir. 2010), involving a Title VII claim against a law enforcement officer;
  • Life Partners v. Morrison, 484 F.3d 284 (4th Cir. 2007), addressing the applicability of the Commerce Clause to a Virginia statute governing viatical settlements;
  • Cox v. Geary, 271 Va. 141 (2006), addressing the appellant’s damages claim in a legal malpractice action arising out of a criminal case;
  • Pyramid Dev. v. D&J Assocs., 262 Va. 750 (2001), interpreting the meaning and extinguishment of an easement;
  • GTE South Inc. v. Morrison, 199 F.3d 733 (1999), involving the determination of the Virginia State Corporation Commission regarding the prices for facilities and services of telephone companies.