Appeals

Appeals

SGS expertly handles complex appeals in matters handled at the trial level by SGS or by other counsel. Paul Schwartz, a former U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals clerk, leads our appellate practice.

The Outcome: The Colorado Supreme Court ordered reinstatement of a dismissal in favor of SGS clients, holding that forum-selection clauses in alleged securities contracts do not violate the “anti-waiver” provision of the Colorado Securities Act. The Case: After the trial court dismissed all claims on the basis of a contract clause selecting Texas as the exclusive jurisdiction for all disputes, the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed. But the Supreme Court granted SGS’s petition for a writ of certiorari and reversed the Court of Appeals. Distinguishing earlier Colorado cases and analogizing Colorado’s anti-waiver provision to similar provisions under the federal securities laws, the Supreme Court held that enforcing forum-selection clauses in securities cases does not violate public policy. Cagle v. Mathers Family Trust, 295 P.3d 460 (Colo. 2013).

The Outcome: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in favor of SGS client Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company in a precedent-setting case concerning the standard for proving the amount in controversy in matters removed from state to federal court under the federal Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The Case: After the district court remanded the case to state court, the Tenth Circuit granted SGS’s request for a discretionary appeal and reversed. The court held that to establish the amount in controversy, removing CAFA defendants need only prove jurisdictional facts by a preponderance of the evidence, even when the plaintiff purports to limit recovery to below the jurisdictional threshold. Frederick v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co., 683 F.3d 1242 (10th Cir. 2012).

The Outcome: The Colorado Supreme Court held that the City of Black Hawk’s ban on bicycling was preempted by state transportation law and affirmed Colorado’s policy of supporting bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation. The Case: SGS’s pro bono clients were ticketed for violating the City’s ordinance banning cycling through Black Hawk. Although both the City’s municipal judge and a state district judge upheld the ordinance’s validity, the Supreme Court granted certiorari and reversed. The Court reasoned that a state statute permits cities to ban bicycling on heavily traveled streets only when there is a suitable nearby alternative bicycling route. Because the City’s bicycle ban had extraterritorial effects, and thus was a matter of both state and local concern, the City could not properly enact conflicting legislation, despite its status as a home-rule jurisdiction under the Colorado Constitution. Webb v. City of Black Hawk, 295 P.3d 480 (Colo. 2013).

A further list of representative appellate matters is available here.