Photo of Linda Morkan

Linda Morkan has dedicated her practice to appellate advocacy for almost 30 years, and has been involved in more than 200 appeals before the appellate courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, as well as the Court of Appeals for the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. She has only had one outing in the U.S. Supreme Court, but emerged victorious. Connecticut National Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249 (1992).

In 2008, Linda was the first woman in Connecticut inducted into the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an honor open only to those who have practiced as an appellate advocate for at least 15 years and possess a reputation of recognized distinction. (Academy membership is limited to 500 members in the United States and is by invitation only.)

For many years, her name has appeared in Best Lawyers in America,  Benchmark Litigation and Benchmark Appellate, and was three times included in the special publication "Top 250 Women Litigators in the United States."  Linda is AV Rated Preeminent in Martindale-Hubbell in the area of Appellate Practice, and is currently listed in SuperLawyers' Top 100 Lawyers in New England and Top 50 Women Lawyers in New England.

Serving in local, regional, and national appellate advocacy groups, Linda just completed a three-year stint as Co-Chair of the Appellate Advocacy Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.  She is also currently a Vice Chair of the Torts and Insurance Practice Section of the ABA, and regularly publishes in state and national publications on topics related to appellate practice and persuasive techniques.

When Linda is not researching, writing, or appearing in court, she can frequently be found at a Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band concert. Including the current tour, she has attended almost as many Springsteen shows as she has argued appeals.

Linda is admitted in the First Circuit, but not admitted in the state courts of Massachusetts.

Post Photo_Quill-400pxWOnce, while at a family gathering, I witnessed my brother tell his four-year-old son, Riley, that, no, he could not watch a video until after he finished eating dinner. Undaunted, Riley jumped up from the table and ran to his mother in the kitchen, “Mom!” he cried. “Dad won’t let me watch Pinocchio!” Immediate appeal from a final judgment.

The parallels between Riley’s pursuit of a higher authority and what I do for a living got me thinking. Clearly, Riley was unhappy and thought his chances would be better with a different decision-maker. Perhaps a more sympathetic ear, one with liberal movie-watching leanings. Alas for Riley, his mom is an experienced jurist and quickly ascertained that the Court of Dad had not erred. Affirmed without opinion.

Was Riley’s reaction so very different than the reaction that most clients have upon hearing that they have lost their case? Probably not. Everyone is looking for a fair shake. A chance to complain. Ever-elusive justice.
Continue Reading Appellate Strategies: Even a Kid Can Take an Appeal

In a dispute arising from the break-up of an accounting partnership, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that parties to a contract cannot agree to expand the grounds on which a court can vacate a commercial arbitration award beyond the bases explicitly set forth in the Massachusetts Arbitration Act (MAA). Katz, Nannis & Solomon, P.C. v. Levine, 473 Mass. 784 (2016). Thus, even where contracting parties wish to give the court more power to review (and perhaps restrain) the power of an arbitrator, the MAA forbids them from doing so, according to the SJC.

The dispute in Katz arose from alleged serious misconduct of one of the firm’s founders; as a result, the remaining partners voted him out. The ousted partner, Levine, took the matter to binding arbitration (per the partnership agreement). The arbitrator held that the vote was proper, that sufficient evidence supported a vote to eject Levine “for cause,” and awarded the partnership more than $1.7 million, plus interest.

The partnership moved to confirm the arbitration award in Superior Court and Levine moved to vacate it. The Superior Court confirmed the award, added an award of attorneys’ fees, and Levine appealed to the SJC, per its grant of a request for direct appellate review.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Restricts Review of Arbitration Awards