Success in the trial courts is often only half the battle -- and sometimes courts make mistakes.  Whether defending a victory or challenging errors, Payne & Fears LLP attorneys have the extensive experience in both state and federal appellate courts that clients need. 

Our attorneys are skilled both in taking a case from trial court through the appeals process and in stepping in to assist after an unfavorable trial court decision.  In fact, Payne & Fears LLP believes the best time to lay the groundwork for an appeal or make it unnecessary is before the trial courts lose jurisdiction. To that end, we welcome working with other trial counsel to identify and craft an effective approach to likely appellate issues at any stage of litigation. 

Working in partnership with our clients, our attorneys provide the necessary legal and practical advice that clients need before making the decision to commit additional resources to appeal a decision.  Once the choice is made to appeal a decision, our attorneys then have the skills, knowledge and experience to provide high caliber representation and argument before the appellate courts.

In all areas of our practice, Payne & Fears LLP lawyers have obtained many successful appellate results, including a number of recent published opinions, such as: 

  • Iglesia Evangelica Latina, Inc. v. S.P.L.A.D., 173 Cal. App. 4th 420 (2009)
  • Surrey v. True Beginnings LLC, 168 Cal.App.4th 414 (2008)
  • Cohn v. Corinthian Colleges, 169 Cal.App.4th 523 (2008)
  • Fisher Tool Co., Inc. v. Gillet Outillage, 530 F.3d 1063 (9th Cir. 2008)
  • Greystone Homes, Inc. v. Midtec, Inc., 168 Cal.App.4th 1194 (2008)

We also have experience arguing before the California Supreme Court, most notably serving as lead counsel for petitioners in Episcopal Church Cases, 45 Cal. 4th 467, 87 Cal. Rptr. 3d 275 (2009), which involved a complex intersection of property law, trust law, constitutional law, and statutory construction.

Recent Successes


Payne & Fears LLP Obtained Major Win in Widely Publicized Class Action

In late July, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ended a 23-year bid by a retired employee of the world's largest aerospace company to force the company's pension plan to retroactively recalculate decades of pension benefits she and other retirees commenced while working. The plaintiff, one of the original "Rosie the Riveters" who riveted planes during WWII, and who recently retired from making C-17s at the age of 95, claimed that her and other participants' pension benefits had been underpaid since at least 1989. In 2015, Payne...

Attorneys: Eric C. Sohlgren


Payne & Fears LLP Wins $4.3 Million Appeal in Closely Watched Case for Negligence, Sexual Battery, and Fraud by Concealment Case

In a case generating statewide media attention, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, unanimously affirmed a damages award of $4.3 million in favor of the firm's client (Patricia Behr) for lifetime damages resulting from the defendant's failure to disclose an infectious virus before transmitting it to her.  When the defendant subsequently informed Ms. Behr of the infection, the court found that he had misrepresented the nature of the risk.  Attorney Paul D. Herbert successfully argued the case...



Payne & Fears LLP Wins Appeal Upholding Grant of Summary Judgment for Client and Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs

Payne & Fears LLP obtained an order granting summary judgment in favor of its client, American Reprographics Company, on claims brought by Jefferson Wells International, Inc. After entering judgment in favor of American Reprographics Company, the trial court also awarded American Reprographics Company its attorneys' fees and costs. After Jefferson Wells appealed the judgment, Payne & Fears LLP successfully persuaded the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five, to affirm the judgment in American Reprographics...

Attorneys: Benjamin A. Nix, Erik M. Andersen


Payne & Fears LLP Wins Appeal in Corporate Governance Case

In September, 2007, the congregation of a historic Angleno Heights church retained Payne & Fears LLP as appellate counsel after suffering a complete defeat in the Los Angeles Superior Court.  The church, which is a California nonprofit corporation, had been affiliated for many years with a "cooperative fellowship" of Pentecostal churches.  The officers of this larger association used the affiliation as a pretext to seize control of the corporation, occupy its property (valued at over $14 million), and literally lock the...

Attorneys: Daniel F. Lula, Eric C. Sohlgren