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Ellis & Winters Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief in Significant Business Dispute

May 29, 2015 | Raleigh, NC, US

On May 22, Ellis & Winters filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Supreme Court of the United States.  The brief, filed on behalf of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), urged the Court to grant review in an important case that affects many businesses.

The brief urges the Court to review the case of an Argentinian company that was sued in North Carolina.  There was no admissible evidence that the Argentinian company had ever conducted business in North Carolina.  However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided that even inadmissible evidence is enough to subject a company to the jurisdiction of a given court.  The Argentinian company has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether it is proper for federal courts to use inadmissible evidence for this purpose.  Federal courts of appeals are divided on this issue.

The FDCC’s brief shows that if courts do not apply regular evidentiary standards in this setting, the courts will erode the constitutional limits of jurisdiction over defendants.  The brief also shows how all federal courts would benefit if the Supreme Court clarifies the interplay among the rules that govern evidence filed in connection with pretrial motions.

Click here to view a copy of the brief.

Matt Sawchak, Stephen Feldman, and Steven Scoggan wrote the FDCC’s brief in this case. 

Mr. Sawchak is a board-certified specialist in appellate practice.  He has chaired the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee, which makes recommendations to the North Carolina Supreme Court on issues of appellate procedure.  Mr. Sawchak clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas during Justice Thomas’s tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

Mr. Feldman is a member of the ABA Appellate Practice Committee’s leadership and serves on the section council for the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section.  Mr. Feldman clerked for Judge Pasco M. Bowman II on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Mr. Scoggan joined the firm in 2014 after a clerkship with Chief Judge James L. Gale on the North Carolina Business Court.

The name of the case is Koro AR, S.A. v. Universal Leather, LLC, No. 14-1205.