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PAST APPELLATE ENGAGEMENTS

 

Our firm has substantial, successful experience bringing and opposing appeals in federal and state courts of appeal. Our appellate work has concerned federal antitrust claims, complex business litigation, and real estate litigation.

Successful Antitrust Appeal: Reversal of the Judgment Below in Our Client’s Favor

In a recent antitrust appeal, we persuaded the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a federal district court’s judgment on the pleadings against our client. This case was originally brought by the late Maxwell Blecher, a legendary trial attorney and antitrust specialist. Max passed away shortly after the case was dismissed on the pleadings. We were honored to bring the appeal, which concerned the proper meaning of the doctrine of antitrust injury. By this appeal, we obtained a reversal of the judgment below and a remand of proceedings to the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles), where the case was subsequently settled on confidential terms before it reached trial.

Case Name: Curtin Maritime Corp. v. Santa Catalina Island Co. (9th Cir. 2019, Case No. 18–55338). Here is the Ninth Circuit’s Decision granting our appeal, and here are our appellate submissions: Appellant’s Opening Brief and Appellant’s Reply Brief. You can also see Mr. Markham’s appearance at oral argument in the video that appears towards the bottom of this page.

Successful State-Court Appeal: Reversal of the Judgment Below in Our Client’s Favor

Our most recent appellate victory was in 2024 in a long-running dispute over a substantial property development. In this case, we persuaded a California Court of Appeal to reverse a judgment rendered by a California Superior Court.

In this case, our client asserted derivative and direct claims against two individual defendants, one of whom litigated cross-claims against our client. The jury found for our client on all claims and cross-claims and awarded compensatory damages and punitive damages. After the jury trial, the Superior Court set aside several of the jury’s verdicts and on this basis absolved one defendant of all liability and rejected the jury’s awards of punitive damages.

We appealed from these rulings, as did one of the defendants. After reviewing the briefs, the Court of Appeal invited the parties to submit supplemental briefs on key issues of fact and law that principally concerned the fiduciary duties that a member-manager of an LLC owes to its other members.

Our efforts in this appeal proved successful. By its decision, the Court of Appeal reinstated all of the vacated jury verdicts and reversed the judgment accordingly. The Court of Appeal also dismissed the defendant’s cross-appeal, awarded costs of appeal to our client, and remanded the case to the Superior Court for a trial on the amount of punitive damages that each defendant must pay. It was a virtually unqualified victory for our client, for whom we also recovered a favorable allocation of the derivative damages and a large fee award during post-trial proceedings.

Here is the Court of Appeal’s Opinion in our client’s favor, as well as our appellate submissions—Appellant’s Opening Brief, Appellant’s Reply Brief, and Appellant’s Supplemental Letter Brief. You can also see Mr. Markham’s appearance at oral argument in this video from 58:41 onward. The case was originally tried by the late Daral Mazzarella, who passed away shortly after the trial.

Case NameWardak v. WLOW Partners, LLC et al. (Cal. App. 2024, Case No. G061606).

Lead Trial and Appellate Attorneys in Nationally Prominent Case

In our most recent antitrust appeal, we appeared before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of national interest — Aya Healthcare Services, Inc. v. AMN Healthcare, Inc.

In this case, we represented the plaintiff, a successful national healthcare staffing agency, which alleged that the defendant, the largest healthcare staffing agency in the country, had used unlawful no-poaching restraints and other contractual trade restraints in ways that unlawfully restrained and monopolized trade in violation of the Sherman Act.

After denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment for the defendant in a published opinion, doing so after more than three years of closely contested litigation in which we were opposed by a leading antitrust attorney from Washington, D.C. and his team of capable litigators.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit issued its own published opinion, which affirmed the District Court’s judgment. Of note, the Antitrust Division of U.S. Department of Justice intervened on appeal to express its agreement with our statement of the antitrust law. Although we did not win, we capably conducted a major, nationwide antitrust litigation from start to finish in a closely fought case that resulted in two published decisions, and we credibly presented our clients’ claims and then raised a significant appellate challenge. Here are redacted versions of our submissions: Appellant’s Opening Brief and Appellant’s Reply Brief. They are representative of the kind of work that we perform at the highest level when called upon to do so.

Case Name: Aya Healthcare Services, Inc. v. AMN Healthcare, Inc. (9th Cir. 2021, Case No. 20–55679).

Lead Trial and Appellate Attorneys in Another Nationally Prominent Case

In another antitrust appeal heard by the Ninth Circuit, we were opposed by some of the best antitrust attorneys in the country in a long-running case in which we represented the largest privately held manufacturer of precast concrete products in North America at all stages of the litigation from its start in 2006 until it ended in 2010. It was a major, national antitrust litigation in which we credibly presented antitrust claims, worked with a world-famous economist from Stanford University, and were opposed by leading attorneys from elite firms in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Case Name: Jensen Enterprises, Inc. v. Oldcastle Precast, Inc. et al. (9th Cir. 2010, Case No. 09-15861).

Sweeping State-Court Appellate Rulings in Our Favor After Successful Jury Trial

In another case, decided in 2010, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District affirmed jury and bench verdicts that we had obtained for our client on all grounds in California Superior Court for San Diego County. The Court of Appeal also granted our cross-appeal and thereby reversed the Superior Court’s dismissal of a second defendant. It also awarded costs of appeal to our client. We subsequently concluded confidential settlements with the defendants.

Case NameCollins v. Name Redacted (Cal. App. 2012, Case No. D056865).

State-Court Affirmances after Successful Trial Outcomes

We have also obtained affirmances in other appeals in the California Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District. These appeals concerned business litigations that proceeded to trial.

CURTIN MARITIME CORP. v. SANTA CATALINA ISLAND CO.

Ninth Circuit, Case No. 18-55338

WILLIAM MARKHAM P.C. OBTAINS APPELLATE REVERSAL

AYA HEALTHCARE SERVICES, INC. V. AMN HEALTHCARE, INC.

Ninth Circuit, Case No. 20-55679

WILLIAM MARKHAM P.C. BRINGS SIGNIFICANT ANTITRUST APPEAL

MR. MARKHAM’S ARTICLES ON ANTITRUST LAW

AN OVERVIEW OF ANTITRUST LAW (By William Markham, © 2000)

“Antitrust law is the law of competition and is perhaps the least understood law of all. This article provides an overview and explanation of the essential principles of antitrust law.”
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ANTITRUST EXEMPTIONS AND IMMUNITIES (By William Markham, © 2022)

“Over the years, Congress and the federal courts have established various immunities from federal antitrust law, removing from its reach specified commercial activities and even entire lines of commerce.”
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HOW THE CONSUMER-WELFARE STANDARD TRANSFORMED CLASSICAL ANTITRUST LAW (William Markham, © 2021)

“Since the late 1970s, antitrust law in the United States has been transformed out of recognition and rendered largely toothless by consumer-welfare jurisprudence….,”
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ANTITRUST AND FREE MARKETS (BY William Markham, © 2022)

“Some critics of antitrust law treat it as mere governmental overreach and an unwelcome infringement upon the ordinary operations of our free markets. (….) That criticism betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the very term ‘free markets,’ which refers to markets that are free of any undue restraint, whether public or private.”
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UNLAWFUL PRICE DISCRIMINATION (By William Markham, © 2013)

“In this article I take up the obscure, problematic doctrine of illegal price discrimination, which was codified by the Robinson-Patman Act during the Great Depression, and which the modern, conservative Supreme Court has severely limited.”
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WHY ANTITRUST LAWS MATTER (By William Markham, © 2006)

“The antitrust laws are supposed to promote and protect competition, or, if you will, competitive processes in distinct ‘lines of commerce’ or ‘relevant markets.’ This alone is their proper purpose.

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MR. MARKHAM’S ARTICLES ON TRIAL PROCEDURE AND CONTRACT LAW

MAKING SENSE OF THE RULES OF EVIDENCE AND PRESENTING YOUR EVIDENCE AT TRIAL (By William Markham, 2011)

“I try in this article simply to set forth a list of simple rules to explain the key points of the law of evidence. I also offer several pointers on organizing evidence in order to present it competently at trial.”
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ANATOMY OF A LAWSUIT (By William Markham, © 2007)

“This article is written for non-lawyers, young litigators, and non-litigator attorneys who wish to understand how a lawsuit works in practice from start to finish.”
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AN OVERVIEW OF CONTRACT LAW (By William Markham, 2002)

“Contract law lies at the heart of our system of laws and serves as the foundation of our entire society. This is not an exaggeration. (….) Our society depends upon free exchange in the marketplace at every level.
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LAW OFFICES OF WILLIAM MARKHAM, P.C.
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Tel. (619) 221-4400
inquiries@markhamlawfirm.com

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