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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why might The Madden Law Group PLLC's (MLG) be the right fit for my case?

A.  MLG attorneys have had long professional and personal ties for decades. They have enjoyed successful careers at Am Law 100 firms, the Department of Justice, other federal agencies, or as the general counsel for litigation at a large international communications corporation.  These two factors led to the creation of MLG.  The Firm believes that high-quality representation happens when a team of seasoned, successful attorneys with deep personal and professional relationships and a shared commitment to excellence bring their collective experience to bear on your case.  The boutique nature of MLG ensures clients will receive the attention and focus they deserve.

Q. Can I afford to hire MLG?

A.  MLG fees are commensurate with fees in the metropolitan Washington area.  Fee arrangements depend upon the characteristics of an engagement.  In commercial and business cases, the Firm may entertain cost-free contingency-fee arrangements through partnerships with investment companies who specialize in funding commercial litigation.  These investment companies are compensated out of the standard contingency fees earned by MLG—not out the financial recovery of our clients.  For more information click video.   In other situations, in addition to billing by the hour, we will entertain a variety of fee arrangements such as capped fees with shared savings, fee collars, cost-only contingency fees, and reverse contingency fees.  For more information, click here.   In appellate matters, we will consider fixed-fee arrangements.  In short, MLG is positioned to offer top-level representation and will work with its clients to mitigate the cost of complex or high-stakes litigation. 

Q. How can MLG, a small law firm, compete with large litigation shops?

A.  The trial and appellate expertise of MLG attorneys is extensive and compares favorably to top litigation firms in Washington, D.C. 

Jerry Madden has litigated federal trials and appeals nationwide for over thirty years at an Am Law 100 firm, the Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.  He has been first-chair, trial counsel in numerous cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars and has been involved in welll over 100 appeals in the federal circuit courts of appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).  He is one of the very few appellate attorneys that has argued appeals in all thirteen federal circuit courts of appeals.

Virginia Whitner Hoptman has decades of trial and appellate experience.  She has been a partner at several Am Law 100 firms in the Wasington area.  She began her career was a law clerk to a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and a law clerk to the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. 

Charles Rowan began his career as a law clerk to a federal trial judge before joining an Am Law 100 firm before becoming the general counsel for litigation at a large international communications company. 

Q. Does it matter that MLG is not located in the community in which I live or where my suit would be filed?

A.  In most cases, no.  Although MLG focuses on appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Fourth Circuit in Richmond, and Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, it has represented clients in all thirteen federal circuit courts of appeals.  It accepts trial cases in the federal courts within the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  The Firm also represents clients before the appellate courts of Maryland and Virginia. 

Q. Why should I consider MLG to represent me on appeal instead of using my trial counsel?

A.  In a typical case, most clients ask their trial counsel to represent them on appeal.  That makes sense intuitively because trial counsel will be familiar with the factual record and the legal arguments made by the parties.  Using trial counsel as appellate counsel does have its drawbacks, however.  Trial counsel almost universally become bonded with their view of the facts and the apparently relevant legal principles.  They are unlikely to change these views on appeal. 

But, often, issues that seemed all important at trial may be less important on appeal.  Blind attempts at vindication on appeal is not an optimal approach.  Experienced appellate counsel possess different skills than experienced and successful trial lawyers.  A lawyer brilliant at cross-examination or at arguing to a jury may not possess the skills needed for effective appellate representation. 

Appellate lawyers must be gifted writers who are also particularly skilled at teasing out the nuances of the law and experts at synthesizing a voluminous factual record into a smaller universe relevant to the appeal. 

Two approaches beyond simply asking trial counsel to handle the appeal should be considered.  First, when the stakes are particularly high, appellate counsel should be retained to prepare and litigate the appeal with an assist from trial counsel.  In other cases, it may be sufficient to bring in appellate counsel to take a “fresh look” in support of trial counsel remaining counsel of record on appeal.  Either way, obtaining a “fresh look” or “second look” about the best issues to appeal and the best overall approach to the appeal is wise.

Q. In a suit against the government, is it a good idea to retain counsel who represented the government in the past in similar cases?

A.  Yes.  Retaining an attorney who has litigated claims on behalf of the government in case like yours is a big plus. Such attorneys have first-hand, inside knowledge of how the government approaches such cases.  It's the reason attorneys who have litigated for the government are so highly prized in government cases.  Jerry Madden has litigated high-stakes or novel tort, breach of contract, and injunctive cases as a government attorney under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Tucker Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.  He also has litigated trial and appellate cases on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)  and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  His practice with FDIC and OCC included high-profile enforcement actions against a national accounting firm, an established law firm representing a national bank, and other institution-affiliated parties (IAPs) as well as a wide array of complex commercial trials and appeals dealing with FDIC's role as receiver of failed banks.  He also has expertise in regulatory matters related to the Dodd Frank Act.  

Q. Does MLG have expertise in matters or cases related to the regulation of banks and other financial institutions?

A.  Yes.  Jerry Madden has been litigating cases involving the regulation of banks and financial companies for over thirty years in private practice, as a senior trial and appellate counsel at Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  These actions related to a wide variety of subjects:  director and officer liability for negligence or breach of fiduciary duty, negligence of lawyers, accountants, or appraisers retained by financial institutions, business claims brought against the FDIC as receiver for failed banks, so-called golden-parachute law that restricts payments under post-employment contracts of bank officers when the bank has been designated a bank in “troubled condition.”  He has also litigated cases related to the statutory protections provided by statute to bank customers, statutes now enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Q. Does MLG have expertise in litigating cases challenging the arbitrary or unconstitutional statutes, regulations, or decisions of the government?

A.  Yes.  Jerry Madden has represented private clients and federal banking agencies in suits brought under the Administrative Procedure Act challenging statutes, regulations, or decision of the government that adversely affected them.  He published an article in the Federal Lawyer magazine on the intricacies of administrative-law cases, titled Look Before You Leap! Suing the United States: A Lawyer's Guide to Injunctive and Declaratory Relief (Dec. 2017).

Q. Does MLG have expertise in litigating breach of contract cases against the government?

A.  Yes.  While a trial and appellate litigator at the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, Jerry Madden successfully represented the United States in contract actions seeking hundreds of millions of dollars brought by banks claiming that Congress breached regulatory-capital contracts they entered into with federal bank regulators when they assumed the assets and liabilities of failed or failing thrifts and banks.

Q. Does MLG have expertise in litigating negligence cases against the government?

A.  Yes.  While at the Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch, Jerry Madden represented the United States in negligence actions brought by banks claiming that the federal bank regulators took over day-to-day control of their thrifts or banks and caused their failure.  Tort claims against the government are brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) which provides only a limited waiver of sovereign immunity.  Although negligence claims against the government are governed by the state law where the claim arises, the numerous exceptions to the waiver of sovereign immunity requires attorneys suing under the FTCA to steeped in the intricacies of the exceptions.  Mr. Madden represented the United States at the trial and appellate level in the landmark case decided by the Supreme Court about the scope of the discretionary-function exception which precludes suits based on the policy decisions of government actors.

Q. Does MLG have expertise in commercial litigation cases, including breach of contract, fraud or misrepresentation, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty?

A.  Yes.  Jerry Madden has litigated civil trial and appellate cases in federal courts throughout the United States.  He has been counsel of record in cases seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in breach-of-contract, breach-of-fiduciary-duty, negligence, and fraud actions.  He also has been trial and appellate counsel in cases involving the violation of banking statutes and regulations, bank litigation seeking millions of dollars in negligence, and business cases seeking temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, or other injunctive relief. 

Virginia Hoptman's practice focuses on claims of trade secret and other intellectual property misappropriation, patent infringement, breach of non-compete and nondisclosure agreements, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of federal banking statutes and regulations, and breach of commercial and construction contracts.  She represents clients in a wide range of industries, including software technology, telecom, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, consumer finance, and higher education.

Charlie Rowan is a business litigation and dispute resolution professional with over twenty-five years of experience as Assistant General Counsel of Unisys Corporation, a global information technology company.  In that role, Charlie was responsible for the litigation and resolution of numerous multimillion-dollar disputes spanning a wide range of subjects. He was responsible for the handling and resolution of major cases in the United States, Europe and Australia. At Unisys, Charlie developed an exceptional understanding of the challenges facing businesses litigating and resolving complex, high-stakes disputes, and was an innovator in selecting, retaining and collaborating with outside counsel.

Charlie has litigated and resolved major business disputes involving:

  • Massive system-integration projects in both the public and private sectors, in Germany, England, Belgium and the United States
  • A major banking-technology joint venture in England
  • Environmental (“toxic”) tort allegations, cleanups, cost-allocation and related insurance coverage
  • Insurance coverage under comprehensive general liability, professional liability, and director & officer policies
  • Indemnification claims arising out of business divestitures
  • Federal whistleblower (Qui Tam) fraud claims
  • Major construction projects involving public-transportation systems and private civil-engineering projects

Q. It what other areas of the law do MLG attorneys have substantive expertise?

A.  Yes.  Attorneys at MLG have substantive expertise in many areas related to litigating cases in the federal courts, including federal jurisdiction (Article III and prudential standing), federal preemption of state law, intervention of parties into existing cases where they have an interest in the outcome, the removal of cases from state court to federal district courts, waivers of sovereign immunity, access to government information, bank receivership law, financial company law under the Dodd Frank Act, business and personal tort claims against the government, challenges to the decisions or regulations of federal agencies, commercial breach-of-contract, fraud, and prior material breach claims involving the federal government, enforcement actions against institution-affiliated parties (IAPs) brought by federal banking agencies (cease & desist, civil money penalty, and removal actions), financial institution golden-parachute law, and legal, accounting, and appraiser malpractice claims against professionals that provide services to banks (insured depository institutions).