San Diego's Law Firm


Civil Appellate and Writ

The Appellate Practice department is headed by partner Paul V. Carelli IV. Mr. Carelli is a Certified Specialist in Appellate Law, as recognized by the California State Bar’s Legal Board of Specialization. The Appellate Practice department has handled countless civil appeals and writs in the United States Supreme Court, the California Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Success in an appellate practice is based on first-class research and writing skills, knowing which arguments work and which ones do not, and on outstanding oral advocacy skills—all key attributes which our Appellate Practice department possesses.

The firm briefed the United States Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit in the important and highly controversial First Amendment school case of Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 445 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 2006), cert. granted and judg. vac., Harper ex rel. Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 127 S.Ct. 1484, 167 L.Ed.2d 225 (2007). In Harper, the Ninth Circuit held that the First Amendment did not prohibit school administrators from preventing a student from wearing a shirt with an anti-gay message on campus.

Here are additional published cases that the firm has argued successfully

  • Shirk v. Vista Unified School District (2007) 42 Cal.4th 201, 164 P.3d 630, 64 Cal.Rptr.3d 210 [representing the school district, successfully argued that an adult plaintiff’s lawsuit was time-barred where the plaintiff claimed the District negligently permitted sexual molestation by a teacher over 25 years ago]
  • Manderville v. PCG&S Group, Inc. (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1486, 55 Cal.Rptr.3d 59 [reversing summary judgment, holding that language in real estate contract did not provide immunity to real estate brokers alleged to have misrepresented aspects of a real estate lot to the buyers]
  • Carter v. Escondido Union High School District(2007) 48 Cal.App.4th 922, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 262 [reversing $1.3 million dollar jury verdict, and holding that whistleblower’s statement to school officials warning that a coach had recommended a weight-gain supplement to a student does not provide a legal basis for termination in violation of public policy]
  • Austin B. v. Escondido Union Elementary Sch. Dist.(2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 860, 57 Cal.Rptr.3d 454 [upholding jury verdict finding that teacher did not abuse autistic students]
  • Hood v. Encinitas Union Sch. Dist. (9th Cir. 2007) 486 F.3d 1099 [holding that trial court did not err by ruling that a student’s needs could be met with appropriate accommodations in the regular education environment, rather than placement in a special-needs classroom]

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