Tell us about your top U.S. Supreme Court or federal circuit court victory over the past year and how you and your team achieved the win. In Microsoft v. Baker, Stephen Rummage, Fred Burnside and former partner (now Stanford professor) Jeffrey Fisher earned an 8-0 victory at the Supreme Court. The court held the Ninth Circuit lacked jurisdiction over an appeal seeking review of an order striking class allegations, after plaintiffs manufactured a final judgment by voluntarily dismissing with prejudice. The decision capped 10 years of litigation, during which judges twice denied class certification and the Ninth Circuit twice denied review. The team exposed the practical effect of the Ninth Circuit’s assertion of jurisdiction: It unfairly allowed plaintiffs an avenue to review class certification decisions that was unavailable to defendants.
How did your firm approach appellate success over the past year? We help courts come up with practical rules. The best route to success on cutting-edge issues lies in applying accepted principles to produce a fair result that makes sense not only in the particular case but also when applied to foreseeable future fact patterns.
What practice advice would you give your younger self? 1. Focus less on trying to show case law mandates an outcome and more on showing how to reach a just and fair result for your client within the law. 2. Always treat adversaries (and judges) as colleagues in a pretty remarkable system for administering justice.
Responses submitted by Stephen Rummage, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine.