Senate Confirms John Garrison as EDTX U.S. Marshal

In the final hours of the last Congress the U.S. Senate confirmed about 70 nominees for various posts, including John Garrison as U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Texas. The two pending nominees for vacant judgeships in Tyler and Beaumont were not among them, and there has not been a formal nomination for the third vacancy. All pending nominations have now lapsed, but it is expected the current nominees will be renominated in the near future in the new Congress.

John is a familiar face locally, having joined the Marshals Service in 1990 as a deputy U.S. marshal. He has spent his entire career in the Eastern District of Texas, serving as the district’s sex offender investigations coordinator, judicial security inspector and acting assistant chief. He also served as a member of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the Marshals Service Special Operations Group.

Prior to joining the USMS, John served as a deputy sheriff for the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office in Alexandria, Louisiana, from 1987 to 1989. He served in the Marine Corps from 1977 to 1980.

If memory serves, his experience includes executing warrants at rib joints in Marshall, but we were all a lot younger back then …

Congratulations to John, and we all look forward to continuing to work with you!

Public reprimand for “inexcusable” lack of diligence in connection with venue declaration

Fourteen years ago now, two residents of the Eastern District of Texas drove the few miles that separated their homes from LBJ Freeway in Dallas, where they were rear-ended by a truck driver from Tyler, resulting in the death of their daughter/granddaughter in the back seat. Several months later the survivors of that collision, who had since moved out of the Eastern District, filed a product liability case in the Eastern District.

In its rulings (there were three) on the petition for mandamus of the district court’s order denying the defendant’s motion to transfer venue the Fifth Circuit held that it was the plaintiffs’ current residence, i.e. the residence at the time the suit was filed, that was relevant, not their residence at the time the cause of action arose. The consequences of that ruling have affected the actions of parties, district courts and the Federal Circuit ever since, including in a recent order publicly reprimanding an attorney for inaccurate factual contentions contained in his client’s declaration opposing a motion to transfer.

2019 O’Connor’s Federal Rules * Civil Trials

The publishing schedule was accelerated a bit this year so that my new O’Connor’s Federal Rules was waiting for me in my office this morning. The “Texas Edition” means that the book has the local rules for all four Texas federal districts in the back of the book, which is a handy way to keep the most important rules for Texas practitioners in one place. It’s hard to believe this is the 22nd annual edition of this book that I’ve worked on. The author picture on the back is starting to look like Dorian Gray.

“Stream of Commerce” Personal Jurisdiction

This is a product liability case in which the third party defendant, a foreign corporation, sought dismissal due to lack of specific personal jurisdiction. The magistrate judge’s analysis of the motion sets forth the current status of the “stream of commerce” approach to personal jurisdiction, analyzing both the foreseeability of the use in Texas, as well as whether the cause of action arose out of the third party defendant’s forum-related contacts, and whether the exercise of jurisdiction would be fair and reasonable. An added benefit is the district court’s order, also copied below, accepting the magistrate judge’s recommended disposition, because it addressed a couple of new arguments raised by the objections.

Renewed Motion to Stay

Okay, the analogy is imperfect, but if “renewed” isn’t legalese for “please” I don’t know what is. But what was actually at stake was a little less dramatic than Toby’s case. The defendant in this case was simply renewing its motion to stay the case pending IPR proceedings after the proceedings were instituted by the PTAB. But the facts were a little outside the norm.

Motions to Amend Pleadings

Motions to amend pleadings are usually not the hottest of topics in complex litigation.  Often the court has permitted an extended period of amendment without leave, so it’s not particularly controversial when a party adds some claims or defenses. But when the amendment is outside the permitted period and/or late in the case the standard for amendment rises. That’s when the old adage that it’s when a pig gets stuck that it starts squealing rings true.