Professional Biography

Eric B. Wolff Partner

Firmwide Chair, Appellate Practice

  • Seattle

    D +1.206.359.3779

    F +1.206.359.4779

    Seattle

    1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4900

    Seattle, WA 98101-3099

    +1.206.359.3779

    EWolff@perkinscoie.com

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Overview

Firmwide Appellate Practice Chair Eric Wolff is an established authority on questions of federal jurisdiction, removal, and forum non conveniens. He has written hundreds of briefs across a wide array of issues in both trial and appellate courts. He has argued over 35 appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as numerous cases in other federal and state courts of appeals. Eric is also a longtime teacher of legal writing and oral advocacy going back to his work at the National Advocacy Center and is always looking for the most effective ways to make written and oral presentations as audience-friendly and persuasive as possible.

Eric's cases and opinions of particular note include the following:

  • Leading federal removal opinion on timeliness - Briefed and argued the appeal in Dietrich v. Boeing Co., 14 F.4th 1089 (9th Cir. 2021), which reversed a district court’s remand of an asbestos case that Boeing had removed under the federal officer removal statute (28 U.S.C. § 1442). The Ninth Circuit's opinion is now the leading published opinion on the rules for timeliness of removal and held that Boeing had been timely in seeking removal.

  • "Mineral" status of rare Montana dinosaur fossils - Briefed and argued certified question to Montana Supreme Court regarding whether rare Tyrannosaurus Rex discovery and other multimillion-dollar dinosaur fossils qualify as "minerals" for purposes of reserved mineral rights in Montana given that they are scientifically minerals and extremely valuable, "fossil fuels" are treated as "minerals," and extremely valuable rocks are nearly universally treated as "minerals." In a 4-3 opinion, the Montana Supreme Court sided with ranchers and held that the fossils were not "minerals." Murray v. BEJ Mins., LLC, 2020 MT 131, 400 Mont. 135, 464 P.3d 80 (Mont. 2000).

  • Reversal of $2M award regarding "independent contractor" status - Successfully sought Maryland high court review of judgment against Tyson Foods holding Tyson liable for medical expenses of employee at an independent chicken farm, then briefed and argued appeal leading to reversal in Tyson Farms, Inc. v. Uninsured Employers' Fund, 471 Md. 386, 241 A.3d 929 (2020).

  • Leading forum non conveniens decision arising from MH370 multidistrict litigation - Represented Boeing before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the transferee district court (D.D.C.), and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia related to the eventual dismissal of cases arising from the March 8, 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. In re Air Crash over the S. Indian Ocean on Mar. 8, 2014, 946 F.3d 607 (D.C. Cir. 2020), and 352 F. Supp. 3d 19 (D.D.C. 2018). Both the district court and D.C. Circuit decisions are important forum non conveniens decisions regarding mass tort litigation involving foreign accidents that include American citizens.
  • Federal officer removal - Briefed and argued the appeal in Betzner v. Boeing Co., 910 F.3d 1010 (7th Cir. 2018), reversing a district court remand order. Betzner is one of the leading decisions on the pleading standard for federal officer removal.

  • Admiralty jurisdiction over aviation accidents - Represented Boeing in matters addressing multiple, difficult jurisdictional problems arising from litigation concerning the crash of an Asiana Airlines 777. The discussion of admiralty jurisdiction, in particular, is the most significant appellate discussion of admiralty jurisdiction involving air travel since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Executive Jet Aviation, Inc. v. City of Cleveland, 409 U.S. 249 (1972) Junhong v. Boeing, 792 F.3d 805 (7th Cir. 2015)

  • Confidential sources and attorney sanctions - Represented Boeing in matters involving an alleged confidential source in a securities fraud class action who turned out to be a sham, leading to attorney sanctions. City of Livonia Employees’ Retirement System v. Boeing, 711 F.3d 754 (7th Cir. 2013), on remand, City of Livonia Employees’ Ret. Sys. v. Boeing, 2014 WL 4199136 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 21, 2014)

  • Foreign aviation accidents - Represented Jeppesen Sanderson in Seventh Circuit, which affirmed removal and grant of summary judgment to Jeppesen Sanderson in a lawsuit arising from a 2005 aviation accident in Australia. Thornton v. M7 Aerospace LP, 796 F.3d 757 (7th Cir. 2015)

  • False Claims Act - Represented Boeing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which affirmed summary judgment for Boeing in False Claims Act (FCA) case litigated for over a decade regarding manufacturing of 737s. United States ex rel. Smith v. The Boeing Co., 825 F.3d 1138 (10th Cir. 2016)

Pro bono. In his practice, Eric has also supervised junior attorneys appearing in the Washington Supreme Court on behalf of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in parental termination and dependency proceedings. He is also a frequent sponsor of junior attorneys representing immigration clients in federal courts of appeals.

Law school and clerkships. Eric is a 1998 graduate of the Berkeley School of Law at the University of California. He was an articles editor with the California Law Review and a research assistant to Professor Jesse Choper. He clerked for his former professor, the Honorable William A. Fletcher after he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1999), then the Honorable Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1999-2000), and the Honorable Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court (O.T. 2000).

Government service. Eric was an assistant U.S. attorney and lead appellate lawyer for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana, where he argued numerous cases in the Ninth Circuit and handled multiple trials in federal district court. It was as an AUSA that Eric served as an instructor on brief writing and oral argument at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, S.C.

Teaching. In addition to teaching legal writing and oral advocacy, Eric has also taught administrative law and natural resources law at George Mason University and Pepperdine University with his friend and mentor Ed Warren.

Professional Recognition

  • Listed in Expert Guides (Euromoney Institutional Investor’s Legal Media Group), "Rising Stars," 2015
  • Recognized in Corporate Responsibility Magazine Legal Who's Who: Securities Defense, 2014

Related Employment

  • Boeing, Puget Sound, WA, Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, 2012; Chief Counsel, 2009 - 2012
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Montana, Assistant U.S. Attorney, 2005 - 2009
  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, D.C., Partner, 2004 - 2005, Associate, 2001 - 2005

Clerkships

  • Hon. Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court
  • Hon. Stephen Williams, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Hon. William Fletcher, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Experience

News

Insights

RELATED INFORMATION

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Washington
  • Montana
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Education

  • UC Berkeley School of Law, J.D., (Boalt Hall), 1998
  • Concordia College, B.A., Philosophy; Writing, 1995