Appellate Practice

Appellate Practice

MMP&S’s appellate practice group is dedicated to appellate advocacy, including evaluating and litigating appeals and seeking stays of underlying proceedings while an appeal is pending. MMP&S has achieved consistently excellent results in the field of appellate advocacy. We pride ourselves on the impact that we have had on the development of law in areas of concern to our insurance, professional and construction clientele. We routinely handle appeals involving a wide range of issues including labor law, contractual indemnification, grave injury, insurance coverage, professional liability, products liability, and general negligence.

Our appellate attorneys have a unique synergy with the firm’s litigators and trial attorneys. The teams work in unison throughout the pre-trial and trial stages, pro-actively confronting issues that are likely to be raised on appeal. From the inception of the litigation, they assist in the evaluation of legal issues, liability defenses, damage exposure, and strategies to cost-effectively position each case for a successful resolution and in anticipation for appellate review.  They also work closely with MMP&S’s trial team assisting in drafting motions in limine, jury instructions and post-trial motions.

MMP&S’s appellate practice group have handled appeals at both the state and federal level and have hundreds of reported decisions. They are extremely knowledgeable of the rules of practice and procedure which are unique to each appellate court.

Recent Results

MMP&S WINS APPEAL IN WRONGFUL DEATH CASE - 2021

Vantroba et al v. Zodiaco et al., MMP&S obtained a reversal and dismissal of wrongful death claims in the Appellate Division, Second Department. The decedent died of smoke inhalation from a fire that started on top of the stove in the decedent’s apartment. The decedent’s estate sued the building owner claiming that the owner had improperly installed the stove, which would allegedly spontaneously turn on while unattended. The Supreme Court, Kings County denied the summary judgment motion that Milber Makris Plousadis & Seiden filed on behalf of the building owner, finding that there were issues of fact as to the owner’ potential negligence. On appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed the lower Court’s ruling and dismissed the estate’s claims. The Appellate Court determined that our client did not create the alleged condition with the stove and did not have notice of the alleged condition. The Court’s ruling is notable in that it limits a property owner’s liability based upon an alleged duty to inspect the property.

MMP&S Obtains Affirmance in the Appellate Division, Second Department - 2020

In Mooklal v. Clermont Farms, et. al., after successfully prevailing in three prior motions, MMP&S obtained an affirmance in the Appellate Division, Second Department of an order denying plaintiff’s motion to renew a prior motion for summary judgment and a prior motion to enforce the settlement.

Plaintiff commenced this action against the defendants to recover damages for personal injuries he allegedly sustained in an automobile accident. Prior to the completion of discovery, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability. While the motion was pending, the parties agreed to settle the matter through emails exchanged between the attorneys. The plaintiff subsequently refused to accept the settlement. MMP&S moved to enforce the settlement arguing that the emails exchanged between MMP&S and plaintiff’s counsel, as agent of the plaintiff, constituted a binding and enforceable agreement to settle plaintiff’s claims.

The Supreme Court, Queens County denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, and granted our motion to enforce the settlement. In granting the motion to enforce the settlement, the Court held that plaintiff’s counsel’s email, in response to our offer to settle the claims, set forth the material terms of the agreement and his assent. The Court further held that, under the circumstances, the email which bore plaintiff’s counsel’s electronic signature was a “subscribed” writing within the meaning of CPLR R. 2104 and constituted an enforceable agreement.

Thereafter, the plaintiff moved for leave to renew both motions. The renewal motion was based upon photographs of the defendants’ vehicle exchanged by MMP&S in discovery after plaintiff moved for summary judgment, before his reply was due, and long before the motion to enforce the settlement was made. The Supreme Court denied plaintiff’s motion to renew in its entirety. Plaintiff appealed the order.

The Second Department held that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate due diligence in bringing the photographs to the Supreme Court’s attention while the motion for summary judgment was pending and that the photographs would not have changed the denial of plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.

In addition, the Second Department held that plaintiff failed to offer a reasonable justification as to why the photographs were not submitted in opposition to the motion to enforce the settlement and that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the photographs would have changed the determination that the settlement was enforceable.

MMP&S Miami Office Secures Per Curium Affirmed Opinion from Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal - 2018

In Huffman v. Commerce West Insurance Company, et al. MMP&S’ Miami, Florida office successfully secured a Per Curium Affirmed opinion from Florida’ s Fifth District Court of Appeal, affirming the trial court’ s order granting Defendant’ s Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff’ s claims for pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, and bad faith. The underlying claim arose from a motor vehicle accident in which the Plaintiff claimed injuries and sought damages pursuant to her Uninsured Motorist policy from her insurer, the Defendant. The case proceeded to arbitration, and an award was granted to Plaintiff. Post-arbitration, Plaintiff filed an action seeking additional damages against Defendant for its alleged bad faith in handling and processing the Uninsured Motorist claim, as well as for pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

The trial court granted Defendant’ s Motion for Summary Judgment, and entered a Final Judgment dismissing Plaintiff’ s claims. Even though motions for summary judgment alleging bad faith are rarely granted, and are generally left to the jury to determine, the trial court here found that there was absolutely no record evidence that would show that Defendant acted unreasonably in investigating, negotiating, or processing the underlying claim.

Key Contacts

Pennsylvania

New Jersey

Connecticut

Appellate Practice Attorneys