Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo’s appellate practice group regularly prosecutes and defends appeals in civil cases before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court as well as the United States Courts of Appeal. Our attorneys have represented clients successfully in other appellate courts and have briefed and argued cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Firm has particular expertise in constitutional law issues, judicial review of government agency decisions, including workers’ compensation decisions, insurance coverage and product liability cases, as well as with single justice practice unique to Massachusetts.

Some of the cases in which our attorneys have appeared on appeal include:

  • Atkins v. Rivera, 477 U.S. 154 (1986)
    Obtained reversal by the United States Supreme Court of a judgment invalidating statutory six-month spend-down period for Massachusetts’s extension of Medicaid benefits to the medically needy.
  • Dhimos v. Cormier, et al., 400 Mass. 504 (1987)
    Successfully argued to uphold a judgment of dismissal for a major convenience store chain in a serious premises liability case in which Massachusetts adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts placing limits on the duties of landowners for injuries off property.
  • Apkin v. Treasurer & Receiver General, 401 Mass. 427 (1988), and E.E.O.C. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 858 F.2d 52 (1st Cir. 1988)
    Successfully defended, in both state and federal appellate courts, the Massachusetts Constitution’s provision that requires that judges retire at age 70.
  • Jones v. Vappi & Co., Inc., 29 Mass. App. 77 (1989)
    Successfully argued for a general contractor in a precedent-setting case interpreting the scope and enforceability of indemnity language in a construction subcontract under Massachusetts statutory law.
  • Local 1445, United Food and Commercial Workers Union v. Police Chief of Natick, 29 Mass. App. Ct. 554 (1990)
    Successfully argued for a major retailer in an action challenging the application of the Sunday “Blue Laws” during the pre-Christmas shopping season, thus saving the client millions of dollars in expected revenue.
  • Canavan's Case, 432 Mass. 304, 733 N.E.2d 1042 (2000)
    Briefed and argued the successful appeal that helped convince the Commonwealth’s Supreme Judicial Court to apply the federal expert witness admissibility standard from Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) to civil cases.
  • Christopher v. Stanley Bostitch, Inc., 240 F.3d 95 (1st Cir 2001)
    Represented manufacturer of a pneumatic nailer in a case interpreting and applying the doctrine of Judicial Estoppel
  • Saggese v. Kelley, 445 Mass. 434 (2005)
    Represented attorneys on appeal in referral-fee dispute in which the SJC held that the referring lawyer must disclose a fee-sharing agreement to the client before the referral is made and secure the client's consent in writing.
  • Adams v. Adams, 601 F. 3d 1 (1st Cir. 2010)
    Successfully argued to overturn a lower court judgment in a case turning on the constitutional limits of personal jurisdiction.
  • Miyazaki v. The Stanley Works, et al, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 1101 (2012)
    Successfully upheld a judgment upon jury verdict in a product liability action challenging the design of an automatic door sensor system.
  • Lopez Medina v. Marsh USA, Inc., et al, 667 F. 3d 58 (1st Cir 2012)
    Successfully argued to uphold a judgment in a case of first impression in the First Circuit challenging the interpretation of an aviation insurance policy.
  • Atwater v. Chester, 730 F.3d 58 (1st Cir. 2013)
    Represented former teacher in case narrowly interpreting and applying the England reservation and other possible exceptions to res judicata claim-splitting strictures.
  • Atwater v. Orlando, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 1112, further appellate review denied, 468 Mass. 1105 (2004)
    Successfully upheld on appeal a jury verdict in favor of a former teacher in a defamation case.
  • Abdow v. Attorney General, 468 Mass. 478 (2014)
    Co-lead counsel in successful challenge to the Attorney General's refusal to certify initiative petition to prohibit casino gambling for inclusion on the statewide ballot for November elections, thus ensuring that citizens get to vote on an important issue of state public policy.
  • Security National Bank v. Abbott Laboratories (U.S. Ct. App. 8th Cir. 2014)
    Filed amicus curiae brief for the American Board of Trial Advocates in support of federal district courts' authority to impose sanctions, sua sponte, for deposition misconduct.