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Our Litigation

The Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic handles complex public-interest appeals. The Clinic launched in January 2017. However, the Clinic director – Brian Wolfmanpreviously directed the Civil Rights clinic at Georgetown's Institute for Public Representation (IPR), which did both trial-court and appellate litigation. There, he mentored teams of Georgetown Law students handling a range of complex public-interest appeals similar to those now being handled by the Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic. Therefore, below, we describe our litigation from spring and fall semesters 2017 followed by a partial list of IPR appeals. (The Clinic's briefs can be accessed by clicking on the links below.)

Fall Semester 2017

Alvarez v. City of Brownsville (5th Cir.) (pending en banc) ─ whether the government must disclose exculpatory evidence to a criminal defendant before entering a plea agreement under the principles of Brady v. Maryland (clinic wrote en banc brief) 

Jones v. Medtronic (9th Cir.) (pending) ─ whether federal medical-device law preempts state-law damages claims caused by certain defective medical devices (clinic wrote opening and reply briefs)

Haywood v. Massage Envy (7th Cir.) (pending) ─ concerning the breadth of the consumer-protection statutes of Missouri and Illinois (clinic wrote opening and reply briefs)

Spring Semester 2017

Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, 137 S.Ct 1652 (2017) ─ whether ERISA plans maintained, but not established, by certain church affiliates are "church plans" and thus exempt from ERISA's protections for retirees (Clinic wrote merits-stage amicus brief on behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association)

Balbed v. Eden Park Guest House, 881 F.3d 285 (4th Cir. 2018) ─ concerning the circumstances under which employees who live and work on employers' premises are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-and-hour laws (Clinic wrote opening and reply briefs)

Lyons v. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2018 WL 1037055 (4th Cir. 2018) ─ concerning the scope of the exemption from protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act for employees who have used illegal drugs (Clinic wrote opening and reply briefs)

M.R. v. Ridley School District, 868 F.3d 218 (3d Cir. 2017) ─ whether and under what circumstances the parents of a child with a disability are entitled to an award of attorney fees under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Clinic wrote reply brief)

Oppositions to certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court ─ (1) Clinic students worked with Georgetown law professor Gary Peller drafting an opposition to certiorari addressing complex issues of bankruptcy law and due process arising out of General Motors' "Great Recession" bankruptcy; and (2) Clinic students worked with Michigan law firm McAlpine P.C. drafting an opposition to certiorari in a Class Action Fairness Act case arising out of the Flint water crisis.

Illustrative appeals from the Institute for Public Representation

Elgin v. Department of Treasury, 576 U.S. 1 (2012) whether the Civil Service Reform Act precludes a federal district court from granting a federal employee equitable relief on a constitutional claim against that employee's federal employer (clinic handled both cert and merits stages)

U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen, 133 S. Ct. 1537 (2013) whether ERISA contract abrogates equitable common-fund doctrine (clinic wrote brief for consumer-group amicus)

Knight v. Thompson, No. 13-955 (U.S.) whether prisoners have a right under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act to resist state prison's restrictive hair-grooming rules (clinic wrote cert-stage amicus brief for national anti-discrimination and religious-liberty organizations)

Freeman v. Dal-Tile Corp., 750 F.3d 413 (4th Cir. 2014) concerning the standard for imputation of liability to employer based on third-party sexual and racial harassment under Title VII (clinic wrote appellate briefs and then mediated settlement)

●McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393 (4th Cir. 2010) whether plaintiffs had Article III standing to bring constitutional challenge to Virginia law limiting use of Virginia's FOIA to Virginia citizens (clinic handled this appeal as well as the trial litigation)

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