Curtin & Heefner LLP’s Appellate Practice Group represents clients in appeals before federal and state appellate courts.
We handle appeals in a wide range of legal matters, including: tort litigation, personal injury, property damage, bad faith, insurance coverage, disability law, contract disputes, commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, banking, municipal law matters, labor and employment matters, environmental cases, real estate and land use disputes.
In addition to handling all aspects of appeals, our appellate litigators can assist trial counsel during trial court proceedings to help preserve issues and to establish a record that will be necessary for consideration of the case on appeal. We are available to serve as lead appellate counsel or as co-counsel to assist attorneys who have handled earlier stages of the litigation.
Our appellate litigators have appeared before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, the United States Air Force Court of Military Review.
Allan D. Goulding, Jr.
Mr. Goulding is principal appellate counsel for the Firm’s Litigation Group. He has an established track record of working with trial counsel, clients and their management team to examine the trial record, identify key appellate issues and present concise and persuasive briefs and oral argument. His more than twenty five years experience in appellate matters includes practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Recent appellate successes include:
· Prevailing in a case of first impression before the PA Supreme Court involving the interpretation of the Financial Responsibility Law and coordinating benefits with disability plans. This case established a state-wide precedent which potentially impacts any claim for benefits under an automobile policy.
· Successfully defended a school district in a case heard by the PA Supreme Court which established that school districts statewide may hire construction managers under a professional contract not subject to the low bid process mandated by the PA School Code.
· In a case of first impression argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, established the principle that disability carriers must provide an assessment for own occupation/any occupation if issue presented at same time.
· On an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, successfully obtained a new trial by establishing the trial court erred when interpreting the law applicable to a key provision of the insurance policy.
· After prevailing at a bench trial before the United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, successfully preserved the decision argued before the Third Circuit in a case involving matters of estoppel, statutory interpretation, policy interpretation and bad faith.
Jordan B. Yeager
Mr. Yeager frequently serves as lead counsel in appellate matters, arguing cases before the United States Court of Appeals, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
A respected and articulate advocate, Mr. Yeager’s appellate court success include:
· Obtained a ruling from the PA Commonwealth Court striking down as unconstitutional portions of a state law that prevented municipalities from utilizing their zoning authority over gas drilling activities.
· On behalf of a municipal client, obtained a Commonwealth Court ruling rejecting a Zoning Hearing Board decision that had invalidated decades-old zoning ordinances which were challenged on procedural grounds.
· Prevailed in upholding a municipality’s zoning ordinance regulating gas drilling.
· Obtained a favorable ruling from the Third Circuit, overturning a summary judgment decision involving qualified immunity doctrine.
· In a Third Circuit case that has been cited to over 1400 times, obtained a landmark ruling that overturned summary judgment on the state created danger theory.
Mr. Yeager is also Chair of the Firm’s Environmental and Public Sector Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Employment and Labor Practice Group.
Sean R. Sullivan
Sean R. Sullivan possesses considerable appellate and litigation experience. His appellate successes include:
· Obtaining reversal of an order that required a witness to disclose the contents of private conversations with his attorney that occurred during the course of a deposition. In a case of first impression under Pennsylvania law, the Superior Court held that conversations between a witness and his attorney that occurred during the course of a deposition were privileged.
· Obtaining reversal of an order that denied preliminary objections in the nature of a petition to compel arbitration. In a case of first impression under Pennsylvania law, the Superior Court held that the inclusion of a forum selection clause in a reinsurance agreement did not waive the parties' agreement to arbitrate.
Mr. Sullivan is an active leader in a number of professional and civic organizations. He co-chairs the Appellate Courts Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and serves as a member of the Appellate Advocacy Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Mr. Sullivan began his legal career as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Justin M. Johnson of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.