Our Practice Areas

Appellate Law

At HSPRD, our appellate attorneys have more than three decades of experience handling complex appeals in every field of law. We practice nationally and have represented clients before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts of appeal, and state appellate and supreme courts.

In March 2019, HSPRD won the first appellate case under the Illinois Insurance Claims Fraud Prevention Act. This law enables whistleblowers to sue corporations and individuals that commit fraud on private insurance companies. In this case about fraud by a suburban Chicago optometry office, the trial court held that the whistleblower law was invalid, but Illinois Court of Appeals reversed that decision and upheld the rights of whistleblowers to bring fraud claims under the law.

HSPRD appellate lawyers have also prevailed in many cases in the Seventh Circuit, including the unanimous victory in Lewis v. City of Chicago.  HSPRD brought lawsuit on behalf of more than 6,000 African-Americans who passed a hiring exam and then were denied employment in the Chicago Fire Department based on race. The trial court required the City to hire 111 class members as firefighters. Our clients also were ultimately awarded $78.5 million in back pay and pension contributions. More recently, HSPRD attorneys are representing female paramedic applicants, both at trial and on appeal, who were excluded from the Chicago fire Department by discriminatory physical tests.

HSPRD regularly provides amicus briefs on immigration and a range of issues from qui tam laws to affirmative action programs, and employment issues. Under the current presidential administration, HSPRD attorneys have filed several amicus briefs across the U.S. defending pro-immigrant policies and supporting sanctuary cities. HSPRD attorneys also routinely represent people filing appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals. 

Our attorneys are admitted to practice law in the United States Supreme Court and several of our lawyers clerked for judges in the Seventh U.S. District Court of Appeals prior to joining HSPRD. Our team has argued cases in the Second Circuit, Fifth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Ninth Circuit, United States Supreme Court and Illinois state appellate courts, among others.

Notable HSPRD Cases

Less v. Mercy Hospital & Medical Center (Illinois Appellate Court, First District)
The Illinois Appellate Court ruled unanimously in favor of HSPRD’s client, Brian Less, to require Mercy Hospital to turnover internal investigative reports about the 2018 shooting of his daughter. This case concerns the tragic shooting death of Dayna Less and two other innocent victims at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center on November 19, 2018.  The hospital investigated the mass shooting in 2018, and then sought to hide what it found from the Less family.  The appellate court rejected Mercy’s privilege claims under both the Illinois Medical Studies Act and the litigation consultant privilege and required the hospital to produce the two long-withheld reports.

Morgan Urso v. Team Illinois Hockey Club, Inc. and The Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois, Inc. (Illinois Appellate Court, Second District)
The Illinois Court of Appeal unanimously ruled for the first time that youth sports teams and organizations in Illinois must follow the Illinois Human Rights Act.  Sports teams cannot discriminate against players based on their mental health condition, disability, or other status protected by state law. The win allows HSPRD client and mental health advocate Morgan Urso to pursue discrimination claims against the hockey team that banished her when she revealed her mental health condition to the coach.

State ex rel. Cahill v. FAMILY VISION CARE, LLC. (Illinois Supreme Court)
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of our client, Marie Cahill. As a whistleblower, she was allowed to pursue her case of insurance fraud against her former employer, an optometry practice and its corporate parent company.  The Illinois Supreme Court upheld for the first time a critical and novel anti-fraud law, the Illinois Insurance Claims Fraud Prevention Act against challenges that the law was unconstitutional. The law empowers whistleblowers expose and fight fraud on private insurance companies.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Does the same lawyer handle a case at trial and on appeal?

Sometimes, but not always.  HSPRD often takes cases from beginning to end, including through all appeals.  In many other cases, however, HSPRD is brought in specifically for appellate expertise.  Our lawyers have handled many appeals. We know how briefs and issues should be presented to persuade the particular judges that decide appeals, judges who often have only see a small slice of a case.  Appeals can take significant time and expertise in the details of appellate law and procedure. Even a great trial lawyer who want before the jury may not want to or have the time to handle an appeal.  For many reasons, lawyers and clients seek out HSPRD attorneys to provide a range of expertise and assistance with cases on appeal.

When does HSPRD get involved with appeals?

HSPRD attorneys are sought out for their appellate expertise and experience handling complex cases at all stages of litigation.  Our attorneys frequently take case through trial and on appeal. We are also asked to join cases after a trial when the case is appealed by the plaintiff or the defendant and to consult on cases and litigation options post-appeal.

How long do appeals take?

It depends. The time to go from a trial court decision to an appellate decision can range from many months to a few years, but it is rarely quick.  In general, the party that lost in the trial court has a few weeks to a few months to bring the case to the appellate court. After both sides submit their arguments in writing in briefs, which can take several months, many appellate courts then schedule an argument some months later to hear oral presentations from the lawyers and ask questions.  Arguments may last half an hour, but then once the case is submitted for decision there is generally no timeline for the court to issue a decision. Occasionally cases are decided in several weeks, but at times it can take a year or more to receive a decision. Many cases on appeal, however, are resolved much more quickly through settlement.  Some courts, like the Seventh Circuit, offer formal mediation programs to encourage settlement. In other instances, the filing of an appeal or briefs on appeal allow the parties to find a path to resolve the case.
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