Practice Areas

Appellate Practice & Trial Support

Rivero Mestre’s lawyers are known as game changers. While appellate law traditionally focuses on what happened in the lower court, we believe that a holistic strategy is critical in our appellate litigation practice, especially when challenging or defending a decision. Our creativity in looking over the horizon gives us an advantage over opponents. But we know that coming up with an innovative approach is only part of the recipe for success—relentlessly executing our ideas through excellent briefs and exceptional oral arguments is what makes us successful.

In addition to arguing appeals, our team provides trial support for other lawyers. Working quickly, we provide high-quality pleadings, pre-trial motions, favorable jury instructions, preparation of witnesses, and assistance with any other pre-trial matters that may arise. Further, we can be there through trial, either at the table or back at the office, on call. It’s up to you.

Our appellate practice lawyers and trial support group have experience in appeals in federal and state court. Below are a few recent examples.

W Holding Co., Inc. v. AIG Ins. Co., 748 F.3d 377 (1st Cir. 2014)

We obtained the first favorable “Insured v. Insured” coverage ruling in relation to the FDIC’s claims in the latest banking crisis. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court of Puerto Rico’s order that required Chartis to advance defense costs to defendant directors and officers. The First Circuit Court agreed that our clients, the former directors and officers of Westernbank, were covered under the policy because Puerto Rico law requires an insurance company to advance defense costs if the claims against the insured create a “remote possibility” of coverage.

Cedeno v. Castillo, 457 Fed. App’x 35 (2d Cir. 2012)

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order from the Southern District of New York dismissing RICO allegations against our clients for failure to state a claim. The District Court held that the complaint alleged only an extraterritorial application of RICO beyond the reach of the statute. Because this ruling potentially limited the extraterritorial reach of criminal and civil RICO claims brought by the government, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened against our position on appeal. Nonetheless, the Second Circuit agreed with us and affirmed the District Court’s dismissal with prejudice.

Chevron Corp. v. Berlinger, 629 F.3d 297 (2d Cir. 2011)

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order from the Southern District of New York compelling the production of 600 hours of outtakes from a film entitled Crude, about a massive environmental litigation in Ecuador.This was, by far, the largest volume of video outtakes ever ordered produced in the history of the United States. These outtakes were used by the joint-defense team representing attorneys for a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, in one of the world’s largest and most complex litigations.

Armas v. Banco Nacional De Crédito, C.A., 129 So. 3d 404 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013)

In a business dispute originating in Venezuela, between a Venezuelan bank and a Venezuelan citizen concerning issues of Venezuelan law, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for the trial court to conduct a forum non conveniens analysis. During the pendency of the appeal, the trial court had entered summary judgment against our client, and the Third District Court also reversed that final judgment because it interfered with the power of the appellate court.

River Bridge Corp. v. American Somax Ventures, 76 So. 3d 986 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)

When we began our representation of ExxonMobil affiliates River Bridge Corporation and River Bridge Realty Corporation, the plaintiff had already obtained a final judgment for more than $1.2 million and a judgment for more than $3.5 million in prevailing-party attorneys’ fees. Although the appellate court reversed one count of the final judgment, the trial court declined to reconsider the fee award. We appealed the fee award and Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for a new evidentiary hearing to determine whether the reversed count was a distinct claim for purposes of the fees sought, and to reconsider the amount of the fee award in light of the lodestar factors for fee calculation.

Henriques v. Crespo, 63 So. 3d 31 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011)

The absolute litigation privilege protects attorneys from defamation and slander claims that arise during the course of a judicial proceeding, so long as the challenged statements or conduct are related to the proceeding. Here, we defended the trial court’s entry of judgment on the pleadings finding that an absolute litigation privilege defense existed. Our client, an attorney, discovered that his pro bono clients, an elderly couple, may have been defrauded. He brought third-party claims in a foreclosure action against a title company on behalf of the elderly couple. The title company sued the attorney for libel. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order applying the litigation privilege defense.

Temple v. Neff Rental, LLC, 3D14-2456 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb. 11, 2015)

In a per curiam affirmance, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident former employee who misappropriated his former Florida employer’s confidential information. During his employment, he signed employment contracts containing a Florida forum-selection clause. That fact, in conjunction with his extensive employment-related contacts with Florida, gave the trial and appellate courts sufficient basis to assert general long‒arm jurisdiction over the nonresident former employee, and to conclude that due process was satisfied.

Goodson v. HSBC Bank USA, NA, 2D13-3060 (Fla. 2d DCA Sept. 19, 2014)

Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a final summary judgment in favor of the lending bank. The borrowers raised 85 affirmative defenses, moved at the last minute to continue the summary judgment hearing, and claimed that the trial court had denied them due process. We were not trial counsel, but were brought in to defend the final judgment. We demonstrated that there were no facts in dispute and that the Bank either had effectively refuted the affirmative defenses or established that the defenses were legally insufficient.

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