Bridget Asay is an experienced appellate attorney, who joined the firm in 2017 after serving as the Solicitor General for the State of Vermont. She handles high-stakes appellate and trial court litigation in all areas of the law. Ms. Asay has argued two cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and has briefed and argued dozens of appeals in state and federal courts.
For over a decade, Ms. Asay supervised and conducted appellate litigation for the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. She handled major appeals and civil litigation in a wide variety of areas, including constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, preemption, consumer protection, environmental law, sovereign immunity, employment law, administrative law, ERISA, attorneys’ fees, free speech, religion, civil rights, and taxation. She was lead counsel for Vermont’s groundbreaking consumer-protection case addressing patent trolling, which was litigated in state and federal trial courts and the Federal Circuit. She represented Vermont in several high-profile preemption cases, including a dispute over the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and an ERISA challenge to the state’s health care database, which she argued at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. Earlier, she handled Vermont’s defense of its law restricting pharmaceutical data-mining, a case that also went to the Supreme Court.
During her tenure with Vermont, Ms. Asay also wrote several multistate amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, on issues ranging from takings law to patent litigation. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious “Best Brief Award” presented by the National Association of Attorneys General for excellence in Supreme Court brief writing.
From 2010-16, Ms. Asay was Chair of the Vermont Board of Bar Examiners, spearheading Vermont’s transition to the Uniform Bar Examination and overseeing a complete revision of the rules of admission.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with honors, from Harvard University and earned her law degree from Yale Law School. After law school, Ms. Asay clerked for Chief Judge J. Garvan Murtha, U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, and Justice Denise Johnson, Vermont Supreme Court.
Ms. Asay routinely serves as lead trial and appellate counsel in a wide range of complex and high-profile disputes. The matters below are representative of her experience.
Ms. Asay represented Vermont in this First Amendment challenge to a state law restricting pharmaceutical datamining. She argued the case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. (Petitioner’s Brief)
Howe v. Burwell
Ms. Asay defended state officials and agencies sued by a plaintiff who objected, on religious grounds, to purchasing health care insurance on the state exchange that provided coverage for abortion. The federal district court dismissed all claims against the state defendants.
Barrett v. Volz
Ms. Asay represented the Vermont Public Service Board in an important case addressing the scope of the public’s right of access to administrative hearings.
Cranley v. National Life
In this Second Circuit appeal, Ms. Asay successfully defended, against constitutional challenges, a state statute that provided for the conversion of an insurance company from a mutual company to a stock company.
State v. Medina
Ms. Asay represented Vermont in a state constitutional challenge to a statute extending mandatory collection of DNA samples from persons charged with, but not yet convicted of, felony offenses.
Perry v. McDonald
Ms. Asay successfully defended Vermont officials against a First Amendment challenge to the regulation of vanity license plates.
Lewis v. Searles
Ms. Asay successfully defended a First Amendment challenge to a state law restricting the placement of signs, including political signs, in highway right-of-ways. (Opinion)
Preemption and Federal Jurisdiction
Ms. Asay defended Vermont’s health care database statute against an ERISA preemption challenge. She argued the case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. (Petition | Our Opening Brief | Our Reply | Opinions)
Vermont v. MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC
Ms. Asay was lead counsel in this groundbreaking consumer-protection case. Vermont was the first state to use its consumer laws to take on patent trolling. The case was litigated in the state and federal trial courts, with two appeals to the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit dismissed MPHJ’s first appeal and, in the second appeal, upheld the district court’s remand order. (Appellee Brief | Federal Circuit Decision)
Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee v. Shumlin
Ms. Asay defended Vermont in its dispute with Entergy over continued operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, a case that addressed the preemptive scope of the Atomic Energy Act.
McGrx, Inc. v. Vermont
Ms. Asay successfully argued to the Second Circuit that the plaintiff’s constitutional and ADA claims were barred by Younger abstention. The Second Circuit upheld dismissal of all claims against the state defendants.
Environmental and Land Use
Ms. Asay litigated and won this important appeal in the Vermont Supreme Court, which established the state’s right to bring direct actions against insurers that provided coverage for properties contaminated by leaking fuel tanks.
In re B&M Realty
In this high-profile land use appeal, Ms. Asay successfully advocated for the Vermont Natural Resources Board, which enforces Vermont’s statewide land-use law. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with the Board that a proposed mixed-use retail development conflicted with the regional land-use plan and overturned the permit for the project. Numerous amici supported that outcome, including the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Preservation Trust of Vermont. (Appellant's Brief | Opinion)
In re Appeal of Plum Creek Maine Timberlands, LLC
After a state trial court overturned an administrative ruling that Plum Creek—owner of thousands of acres of forest land in Vermont—violated its forest management plan, Ms. Asay handled the successful appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court. The Court reversed, reinstated the finding against Plum Creek, and reaffirmed the deference afforded the state forestry department. (Opinion)
Brod v. Agency of Natural Resources
Ms. Asay successfully argued that the plaintiffs’ challenge to an agency rule governing solid waste management failed for lack of standing.
Administrative and Employment Law
Ms. Asay represented the Green Mountain Care Board in the first challenge to its exercise of insurance rate-review authority. While remanding for further proceedings, the Vermont Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the Board’s regulatory authority. (Opinion)
In re Grievance of John Lepore
The Vermont Supreme Court reversed a labor board decision reinstating a state employee terminated for misconduct. The Court agreed with the State—represented by Ms. Asay—that the employee’s misconduct and dishonesty as a juror in a federal capital murder trial was sufficient grounds for termination. (Opinion)
In re Grievance of Vermont State Employees’ Association
Ms. Asay successfully represented Vermont against a claim by the state employees’ union for an extended period of double pay for numerous state workers who were relocated after Tropical Storm Irene damaged the state office complex in Waterbury. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with the labor board and the State that the collective bargaining agreement did not require double pay. (Opinion)
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