Appeals court rulings involving professional liability issues may affect defenses available in the state involved as well as other states that may look to the first state’s ruling as persuasive authority. It can therefore be important to lend support to appellate litigants whose professional liability defense cases involve issues of importance nationally. Many appellate courts allow interest groups to file briefs as amici curiae – or as friends of the court – raising points that may transcend on a broad, national scale the specific facts and state law at issue in the appeal. To qualify, court rules generally require that proposed amici seek permission from the court to file a brief.
When informed of new appellate filings involving legal issues of potential significance in other jurisdictions the Amicus Curiae Committee of PLDF will be tasked to provide for rapid responses given the tight deadlines appeals require. The committee’s first charge will be to seek member input on issue/position appropriateness standards required for PLDF participation, the amicus counsel selection process, and funding mechanisms necessary to maintain the program’s vitality.