On November 29, of counsel Thomas Burns won a pain clinic appeal in the Eleventh Circuit. His client, a pain physician, had been convicted of one count of conspiracy and three substantive counts of illegally distributing opioids after a contentious 16-day jury trial in early 2019. Initially, after briefing and oral argument, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the convictions and sentence in December 2021. But in October 2022, the Supreme Court granted Thomas's certiorari petition, vacated that decision, and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of Ruan v. United States, 142 S. Ct. 2370 (2022). After supplemental briefing and a second oral argument on remand, the Eleventh Circuit issued a unanimous precedential 57-page opinion vacating the substantive counts and remanding for retrial and resentencing. The Court agreed with Thomas's argument that the jointly proposed jury instructions didn't qualify as invited error and were plainly erroneous because they misstated the crime's mens rea requirements.
Bryan Gowdy & Thomas Burns were invited to the Supreme Court of the United States to attend the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence. This Awards Ceremony celebrates individuals who have contributed their talent, time, energy, and resources to furthering the ideals of the American Inns of Court. The Honorable Susan H. Black, circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, was selected to receive the prestigious 2023 American Inns of Court Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics.
Bryan Gowdy will be presenting at the Jacksonville Federal Bar luncheon on Thursday, October 19, at 12 noon. Mr. Gowdy, board certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar and advocate before the U.S. and Florida Supreme Courts, will provide practitioners with strategies for a successful client resolution in light of the three potential decision-makers in every case: the trial judge, the jury, and the appellate judges. He will explain the different characteristics of each decision-maker and how an effective trial advocate must simultaneously persuade the trial decision-makers and make a record that will persuade the appellate judges. He will advise on both avoiding and preserving issues for appeal; how to balance winning on appeal versus winning in the trial court; when to seek appellate review; what factors to consider when evaluating whether an appeal is sensible and appropriate; and ethical obligations to disclose authorities. Register using the link here or RSVP to Maria Daniels, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Gowdy will serve as the moderator for the Jacksonville Lawyers Chapter virtual preview of the upcoming Supreme Court term. The preview will be conducted via Zoom, beginning at 12 noon on Wednesday, September 27, 2023. The panel features Sarah M. Harris, Joseph R. Palmore, & Henry C. Whitaker. This event will account for a 1-hour General CLE credit. Register here.
Dimitri Peteves represented a plaintiff in a § 1983 appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The plaintiff sued a police officer for false arrest, illegal search and seizure, excessive force, and deliberate indifference to medical needs. The district court granted summary judgment against the plaintiff on all claims. On appeal, Dimitri persuaded the Eleventh Circuit to reverse the summary judgment on the excessive-force claim. Read the decision here.