JOE GUERRA, a co-leader of Sidley’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice and a former Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice, focuses his practice on both traditional appellate representation and law-intensive, trial-level litigation. As an appellate advocate, Joe has argued a wide range of federal constitutional, statutory and administrative law matters in federal and state courts throughout the country, including the United States Supreme Court and most of the federal courts of appeals. He also helps develop legal strategies and argue dispositive motions at the trial level in high-stakes cases that raise novel and often complex questions of federal or state law.
Joe represents clients across a broad range of industries—including those in the energy, telecommunications, financial and insurance sectors—on an expansive array of legal issues. His recent experience includes:
- Argued and won a challenge in the D.C. Circuit to a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that established the compensation long-distance carriers such as AT&T must pay when they deliver “Voice over Internet Protocol” calls to local telephone companies. AT&T Corp. V. FCC, 841 F.3d 1047 (D.C. Cir. 2016).
- Obtained partial reversal and remand of a decision of the Tax Court that imposed gift tax liability of approximately US$50 million (including interest) on two individual taxpayers based on an allegedly invalid valuation of two companies in a merger. Cavallaro v. Commissioner, 842 F.3d 16 (1st Cir. 2016).
- Successfully argued before the D.C. Circuit that Congress did not authorize federal taxation of reinsurance contracts executed outside the United States by foreign reinsurance companies. Validus Reinsurance, Ltd. v. United States, 786 F.3d 1309 (D.C. Cir. 2015). That ruling preserved a victory Joe and other Sidley lawyers had obtained in the district court. Validus Reinsurance, Ltd. v. United States, 19 F. Supp. 3d 225 (D.D.C. 2014).
- Successfully argued before the Supreme Court that the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act does not permit class action lawyers to obtain and use personal information in division of motor vehicle records for mass solicitation of clients. Maracich v. Spears, 133 S. Ct. 2191 (2013).
- Argued and won a challenge in the D.C. Circuit to a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denying Mobil Pipeline Company’s application for authority to charge market-based rates on one of its oil pipelines. Mobil Pipeline Co. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm’n, 676 F.3d 1098 (D.C. Cir. 2012).
- Argued and won a case in which the Supreme Court held that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits retaliation against covered federal workers who complain about age discrimination. Gomez-Perez v. Potter, 553 U.S. 474 (2008).
- Successfully defended the interpretation of claims in a patent owned by MetLife in an appeal before the Federal Circuit.
- Argued and won appeals for AT&T in the Third Circuit in cases that raised issues under ERISA and questions of preemption and other issues under the Communications Act and federal antitrust laws.
- Argued on behalf of intervenor The National Association of Manufacturers and won dismissal of a suit seeking to compel federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under a novel “public trust doctrine” theory. Alec L. v. Lisa P. Jackson, 863 F. Supp.2d 11 (D.D.C. 2012).
In addition to his court appearances, Joe has filed numerous briefs in the United States Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit, the Federal Circuit and other federal and state appellate courts in cases involving, among other matters, takings claims, commercial and political speech restrictions, due process claims, the constitutionality of term limits, federal preemption, patent law principles, the United States’ obligations under international treaties, and the scope of liability under the Alien Tort Statute.
Joe has been commended as a “Litigation Star” in the District of Columbia by Benchmark Litigation (2012–2017, 2020), recognized in The Legal 500 US (2012–2015) and included in the 2013–2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Joe is ranked in Chambers USA 2014–2018 in Appellate Law.
Admissions & Certifications
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
- District of Columbia
- Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1985 (summa cum laude)
- University of Virginia, B.A., 1980 (with distinction)
- William J. Brennan Jr., United States Supreme Court (1987 - 1988)
- Joyce Green, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (1985 - 1987)