Litigation Team Prevails in Complex Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Appeal


A litigation team in Sacramento prevailed in a difficult and complex appeal in the Ninth Circuit, which ruled for our client in two consolidated appeals handled on a pro bono basis on his behalf by litigation senior associatesStacy Don and Stephanie Zook and insurance partner Cynthia Larsen.

Our client was deported from the United States seven years ago on the ground that he was not a U.S. citizen. In reversing the Immigration Judge, the Ninth Circuit ruled that our client (who was born in England in the 1950s to a U.S. serviceman father and an English mother) should not have been deported because he was entitled to U.S. citizenship under the intricate statutory scheme for establishing citizenship for children born abroad of a U.S. citizen father and a mother who was a citizen of another country.

The case was a complex one, involving numerous procedural complications and issues, as well as the potential application of the law of several states where our client lived during his childhood, to the issues of legitimacy and paternity. The Ninth Circuit ultimately determined that even though there had never been the purportedly required formal determination during his minority that our client was the legitimate child of a U.S. citizen, the law of Arizona, where our client lived for a small portion of his minority, could be used to establish that our client was the legitimate child of a U.S. citizen father notwithstanding the lack of a formal legitimacy determination. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit ruled that our client is a U.S. citizen and should not have been deported.

The result in this matter could not have been achieved without the excellence and hard work of our entire team, particularly Stacy and Stephanie's work on the briefing and Stacy's very effective oral argument before the Ninth Circuit. Also supporting this great result was litigation associate Patrick Bocash, who assisted with research; intellectual property senior paralegal and recruiting administrator Linda Partmann, who assisted with the brief; and legal secretaries Wanda Peters, Susan Langley and Jeanette Ponce.