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Brannock Humphries & Berman’s Appellate Victories Recognized by National Civil Justice Institute

While in Seattle for the American Association for Justice’s annual convention, Brannock Humphries & Berman shareholders Celene Humphries and Tom Seider attended the Pound Institute Fellows Reception, where two of their cases were nominated for the 2022 Appellate Advocacy Award.

The National Civil Justice Institute, formerly known as the Pound Civil Justice Institute after former Harvard Law School Dean Roscoe Pound, is a national legal think tank dedicated to sponsoring programs and publications that give a balanced view of issues affecting the civil justice system in the United States. Its Appellate Advocacy Award, presented annually, celebrates attorneys who have secured a final appellate court decision with significant impact on the right to trial by jury, public health, or public safety.

Brannock Humphries & Berman was nominated for two important appellate wins. First, in an extensive precedent-setting decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the firm beat-back an argument from cigarette company Philip Morris USA that tried to prevent plaintiffs from seeking punitive damages in lawsuits against the tobacco companies for their decades-long conspiracy to deceive the public about the health risks of smoking. This decision was especially influential because courts around the country were split on the issue. Celene Humphries took the lead on this case, with Tom Seider’s assistance.

Second, in a decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals on a hot-button issue being litigated across America, Brannock Humphries & Berman helped ensure that Korean company LG Chem would be subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts for their defective lithium-ion batteries, which have exploded and caused serious injuries to many consumers. Brannock Humphries & Berman then persuaded the Georgia Supreme Court to allow the Court of Appeals’ decision to stand, sending an important signal about LG Chem’s efforts to avoid being sued in the United States. Tom ran point on this case, with Celene providing backup. Tom also recently took his experience in Georgia across state lines to Mississippi, orally arguing the same issue in the Mississippi Supreme Court. 

These two groundbreaking decisions will open the courthouse doors to thousands of injured Americans, furthering the mission of the National Civil Justice Institute to bring positive changes to American jurisprudence.