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Appellate Practice (Federal, State, and Administrative)

Dillon & Findley has a long-standing reputation for successful advocacy in its appellate work. Our trial skills and appellate expertise allow our attorneys to litigate cases at the administrative, trial court, and appellate court levels.  Our appellate work has involved complex and diverse areas of law, often requiring review of thousands of documents in the appellate record and comprehensive analysis of statutes, legislative history, and case law.

Dillon & Findley has appeared in front of numerous administrative agencies, boards and commissions, including the United States Air Force, State Assessment Review Board, Office of Administrative Hearings, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, Alaska Department of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Alaska Police Standards Council, Commission of Judicial Conduct, Occupational Safety and Health Review Board, and Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Representative appellate work of our attorneys includes:

Hydaburg Co-op Ass’n of Hydaburg v. Hydaburg Fisheries, 826 P.2d 751, 752 (Alaska 1992), successfully defended on appeal the claim that Hydaburg Cooperative Association had sovereign immunity, protecting it from execution on a judgment against it.

Young v. Hobbs, 916 P.2d 485 (Alaska 1996), successfully brought an appeal, demonstrating that the trial court’s decision that the parties agreed to a settlement agreement was clearly erroneous.

Nielson v. Benton, 957 P.2d 971 (Alaska 1998), successfully defended on appeal an award of 50 percent of actual reasonable attorney and paralegal fees for our clients, as a result of prevailing at the trial court level and demonstrating that an enhanced attorney fee award was justified because the opposing party brought a “weak claim.”

Moody v. Delta W., Inc., 38 P.3d 1139 (Alaska 2002), in a case of first impression, the Alaska Supreme Court held that the Firefighter’s Rule applies in Alaska. The Firefighter’s Rule holds that firefighters and police officers who are injured may not recover based on the negligent conduct that required their presence.

State v. Native Vill. of Nunapitchuk, 156 P.3d 389 (Alaska 2007), defended trial court’s award of attorney fees to unions under the public interest rule. Dillon & Findley represented the following unions in this matter: Alaska AFL–CIO, Alaska Public Employees Association/AFT, IBEW Local 1547, Public Employees Local 71, Operating Engineers Local 302, Alaska State Employees Association/AFSCME Local 52, Alaska Laborers Local 341, and Teamsters Local 959.

State v. Carpenter, 171 P.3d 41 (Alaska 2007), an appeal regarding the boundaries of free speech and defamation. This case remains the seminal case in Alaska on suits involving defamation.

Beal v. McGuire, 216 P.3d 1154 (Alaska 2009), successfully established that Certificates of Need are valuable property rights.

Weyhrauch v. United States, 561 U.S. 476 (2010), reversal of Ninth Circuit opinion on the issue of honest service mail fraud. Dillon & Findley was trial counsel in this matter, and supported appellate counsel with appeals to the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.

Department of the Air Force v. Borup (2010), successfully defended against an administrative suspension to engage in federal contracting and receive benefits of federal assistance. The suspension was terminated in approximately six months.

Allstate Ins. Co. v. Dooley, 243 P.3d 197 (Alaska 2010), in a case of first impression, the Alaska Supreme Court established that the tort of fraudulent concealment of evidence, not spoliation, is the appropriate cause of action when evidence is intentionally concealed until after entry of judgment and expiration of the period for seeking relief from a final judgment.

BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. v. State, Dep’t of Revenue, 325 P.3d 478 (Alaska 2014); State, Dep’t of Revenue v. BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc., 354 P.3d 1053 (Alaska 2015). Dillon & Findley was counsel for the North Slope Borough at both the trial and appellate court levels. We received a successful ruling on the multi-billion dollar valuation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and a favorable interpretation of the applicable oil and gas property tax statutes by the trial court and the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed.

BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. v. State, Dep’t of Revenue, 327 P.3d 185 (Alaska 2014), successfully defended on appeal an award of 45 percent of actual reasonable attorney’s fees for our client, as a result of prevailing at the trial court level and demonstrating that an enhanced attorney fee award was justified due to the “complexity of litigation, length of trial, and relationship between work performed and significance of matters at stake.”

Cornelison v. TIG Ins., 376 P.3d 1255 (Alaska 2016), successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of numerous claims, including tortious interference with contract rights, abuse of process, false light, defamation, libel, slander, legal malpractice, and violations of the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act (UTPA).

Bolinder v. Zwiacher, Case No. S-14710, December 4, 2013, filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Alaska Association for Justice. The Court ruled in favor of the Association’s position that the trial court erred in not granting Plaintiff’s motion to compel Dr. Zwiacher to sign a release of information relating to his application for hospital privileges at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.

We successfully defended against Petitions for Review before the Alaska Supreme Court in the following matters:

Clifford Tagaban, et al. v. Harold Martin, Kake Tribal Corp., S-08902, February 24, 1999.

Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., et al. v. Jessie Dietz, et al., Case No. S-09713, July 3, 2000.

Anchorage School District v. Jacob Browning, et al., Case No. S-10421, December 26, 2001.

Steiner Corp., et al. v. Jeri Lucier, Case No. S-11850, May 2, 2005.

Janet L. Smalley, M.D. v. Angel Dobbins, et al., Case No. S-13453, April 9, 2009.

BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. v. State of Alaska, North Slope Borough, et al., S-14105, January 11, 2011.

BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. v. State of Alaska, North Slope Borough, et al., S-14295, June 10, 2011.

John R. Mayer, M.D. v. Constance Holmes, Case No. S-14482, September 29, 2011.

BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. v. State of Alaska, North Slope Borough, et al., S-14515, December 15, 2011.

Floyd and Judy Cornelison v. Griffin & Smith, et al., S-15379, February 4, 2014.

Alaska Legislative Council v. Governor William Walker, et al., S-16059, August 31, 2015.

Timothy Kavanaugh, M.D., et al. v. Karen Waterer, et al., S-16063, December 11, 2015.