Appellate Litigation

It ain't over till its over

Even the best trial lawyers do not prevail at every case. A righteous cause that does not win at trial can be vindicated on Appeal. We have done almost one hundred appeals, including many for clients who have retained us just for the Appeal after losing a case that another attorney had tried. We have won important Appeals at the Supreme Judicial Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

Appeals

Sinsheimer & Associates is adept at all aspects of State and Federal appellate practice. The lawyers of Sinsheimer & Associates have successfully fought appeals in a variety of legal areas, including: criminal, business, police brutality, employment discrimination, and election law.

Here to Help

Potential clients must note that it is often necessary to file notices promptly after judgment to protect appellate rights. If you are contemplating an appeal, time is of the essence and you should contact an attorney immediately.

Notable Wins

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Commonwealth v. Adkinson

In a groundbreaking decision, Sinsheimer & Associates fought successfully to have the Massachusetts Court of Appeals recognized that battered women’s syndrome can affect a person’s decision making and competency at trial. Here, Attorney Sinsheimer and his team were able to shave almost 20 years off of Ms. Adkinson’s sentence.

Read more about it here

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Fahey et. al v. Newton Election Commission et. al.

The ballots for Newton School Committee positions were poised to be sent to the printer without incumbent Jonathan Yeo’s name. Mr. Yeo’s residency qualification had been challenged in a formal suit, and a Middlesex Superior Court judge had ordered, just days before the ballots were to be printed, that his name be removed because he did not qualify. Sinsheimer & Associates, in a battle against the clock, fought to get the matter before the single justice of the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. After holding an emergency hearing on the issue, Associate Justice Elspeth Cypher vacated the Superior Court ruling and ordered that the “Clerk of the City of Newton shall not strike Jonathan Yeo’s name from the ballot for election of school committee.”

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Commonwealth v. Gardner

After the imposition of an illegal incarcerated sentence, the lawyers of Sinsheimer & Associates went to work immediately to get an emergency hearing in front of the Single Justice of the Appeals Court, and got Ms. Gardner released within 1 week of her incarceration.

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Ciolino v. Gikas, 861 F. 3rd. 296 (1st Cir. 2017)

Attorney Sinsheimer obtained an important ruling from the First Circuit Court of Appeals concerning an individual’s right to be free from excessive force.

On January 26, 2016, a jury found that Essex County Sherriff’s Officer, George Gikas, violated Alfonso Ciolino’s constitutional right to be free from the use of excessive force when Gikas grabbed Mr. Ciolino by his shirt collar and threw him to the pavement during the 2012 St. Peter’s Festival in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Mr. Ciolino sustained a torn rotator cuff and significant injuries to his elbow, which kept him out of work for over one year. Mr. Ciolino was awarded $288,767.34, including attorney’s fees and expenses.

The Defendant argued that he was immune from Mr. Ciolino’s excessive force claim, because his conduct fell within an allowable “margin of error.” However, the U.S. District Court ruled that Gikas was not entitled to qualified immunity because “a reasonable officer in Sergeant Gikas’ position would have understood that throwing Plaintiff to the pavement in those circumstances was unnecessary, and would thus violate his Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force.”

On June 28, 2017, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s decision. Although Gikas testified that the take-down was consistent with his training, the Court ruled that “Gikas’ conduct was contrary to the training he received. A reasonable officer might well have laid hands on Ciolino, but would have used a less aggressive technique, such as seizing and securing Ciolino’s hands, rather than taking the actions that Gikas did.” The Court’s decision is significant in that it puts police officers on clear notice that merely disobeying a police officer’s order to “move along,” without more, is not an adequate basis to take down non-threatening and non-resisting citizens.

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Matalon v. Hynnes, 806 F. 3rd 5627 (1st. Cir. 2015 )

Attorney Sinsheimer and his associate represented appellee Scott Matalon in the context of a “warrantless entry by the appellants (Boston police officers) into a dwelling in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts”. According to the court’s decision, “The police lacked probable cause; the jury found that their intrusion into the dwelling was not justified either by exigent circumstances or by any other constitutionally acceptable rationale; and an award of damages against the officer who had spearheaded the entry into the house ensued” (caselaw.com, 2020).

The court ultimately found that the police were found liable for unlawfully invading home without a warrant and beating innocent citizen who complained. Additionally, the court denied the Community caretaking function as a valid excuse.

Read more about it here

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Whistleblower Harrington v. Aggregate Industries-Northeast Region, Inc., 668 F.3d 25 (2012) | Big Dig Retaliation

“Big Dig Retaliation” case.  Shortly after alleging that his employer was using substandard concrete on the Big Dig project, our client was subjected to various retaliatory actions culminating in discharge.  The temporal proximity between these retaliatory actions and our client’s execution of a settlement agreement regarding the Big Dig claims created, in the Court’s words, “a reasonable inference that the appellant was terminated for retaliatory reasons.”