About

Very few cases reach the appellate level. Those that do shape the law.  Appellate advocacy is a specialized practice requiring talents and abilities different from those called for by trial work and other aspects of the practice of law.

Steptoe & Johnson's Appellate Team offers clients the skill, depth, and experience necessary to handle every appellate matter with zeal and professionalism. The firm's appellate attorneys afford clients the advantage of broad experience with state and federal appellate courts and the divergent rules of practice and procedure of each of those forums.

Steptoe & Johnson appears regularly before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and follows the needs of clients to other state and federal appellate forums across the country.

Appellate Team attorneys have served as Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, law clerks to judges in state and federal appellate courts, appellate litigator for the Office of the Attorney General of West Virginia, and lecturers of appellate advocacy at the West Virginia University College of Law.

The firm's appellate lawyers defend judgments that the firm's trial lawyers have helped clients win, seek review of judgments adverse to clients, and handle appeals for clients represented by other counsel at the trial level. Often our role begins even before the verdict, as lawyers work with the trial team on preparation of important motions and preservation of issues for appeal.

This collaborative approach benefits the firm's clients by providing different insights with a view toward appeal and a fresh perspective on the issues presented by each case. Lawyers also consult with outside attorneys, insurers, and corporate law departments on appellate matters and regularly prepare amicus curiae or "friend of the court" briefs for businesses and organizations with an interest in the outcome of an appellate case.

Appellate Team members are strategically located throughout the firm and are drawn from each of the firm's four practice departments: Litigation, Energy & Natural Resources, Labor, and Business. The geographic and practice diversity of Appellate Team members ensures that each case is staffed efficiently with lawyers knowledgeable in the involved subject matter.

One of the firm's hallmarks has always been its quality appellate work. Year after year, Steptoe & Johnson performs more appellate work in West Virginia than any other law firm.

Representative Experience

Represented clients in various appellate matters including actions (1) challenging constitutionality of non-judicial foreclosure; (2) challenging constitutionality of statutory limits on non-economic damages; (3) seeking to establish cause of action for workplace stress; (4) seeking to establish per se violations of insurance bad faith statute; (5) seeking removal of co-trustee of testamentary trust; (6) seeking to establish police liability for naming of suspects in criminal investigation; (7) seeking tax refunds; (8) challenging bidding process for construction of office building for university board of trustees; (9) seeking access to confidential hospital peer review records; (10) challenging NCAA eligibility ruling; (11) challenging completed operations hazard exclusion in commercial general liability policy; (12) protecting CEOs and other high-ranking corporate officials from unduly burdensome depositions; (13) seeking class action relief against the State and its contractor for uncollected child support payments

Counsel in numerous litigation and appellate matters, including cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia, and the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

Represented insurer in an appeal of a case seeking to impose liability on insurance companies for failure to preserve total loss vehicles for purposes of potential product liability actions

Appeared as counsel of record in numerous state and federal appeals involving jurisdictional, procedural and statutory construction issues of first impression