Some afternoons it’s not the weather than sends chills down your spine but the thought that you could have been in a party’s position in a case you’re reading. In the attached, Judge Mazzant denied a party’s motion to withdraw a party’s motion to withdraw and amend deemed admissions. The order provides a useful guide on what facts are important when you find yourself in a similar situation. Or, let’s be clear here – how not to respond to discovery requests.
Okay, maybe that’s a tad bold, but seriously – what’s not to like about an opinion that lays out jurisdictional facts and tells you when you have enough? Of course it also notes that there isn’t general personal jurisdiction, but then you already knew that, right?
Last month I mentioned a law professor of mine telling me that the thing that lawyers are most interested in learning about federal court is how to get out, hence the interest in standards for removal and remand. It turns out that’s not exactly true – they are actually even more interested in the standards for setting aside default judgments (which includes the subsidiary issue of setting aside the clerk’s entry of default. This case by Judge Mazzant is not the freshest egg in the drawer, but Westlaw apparently just decided that it needed publishing, and after all, ten months is not such a long time. So here are the standards you need if you find yourself in this very uncomfortable situation.
This is a patent case dealing with mobile antennas. Defendant filed a motion to exclude testimony from two of the Plaintiff’s experts. Judge Mazzant granted the motion in part, and in doing so set forth the relevant standards for expert testimony and answered a number of questions about whether certain types of opinions are categorically inadmissible.
On the surface, it just says it’s a ruling on a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative to transfer venue, but under that plain exterior lurks a detailed analysis of the defenses of personal jurisdiction (which is not, repeat NOT what you were taught in law school) , improper venue under the general venue statute (and how to throw it away), and a motion to transfer under Section 1404.
So while it’s not exactly everything you need to know about these motions – it’s not the Magna Charta of venue law as Judge Heartfield once (well, maybe more than once) described his magnus opus Mohamed v Mazda, it’s still a thorough and useful recitation of the applicable standards.
Many years ago when I was asked to prepare my first federal update paper, I called my federal courts professor from law school and asked him what people want to hear in a federal update. He didn’t hesitate. “Removal and remand.” Why? “Most lawyers don’t know anything about federal court and don’t want to be there. The thing they want to know is how to get out.” So it’s always good to keep a few recent decisions on motions to remand handy, in case you fall into that category. This recent opinion by Judge Mazzant fits the bill nicely, as it addresses a requirement few think about.
Defendants in this case filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Statute of Limitations, Preemption, and Preclusion. Magistrate Judge Craven recommended that the motion be denied with two exceptions, and Judge Mazzant addressed the objections in the attached order.
This is a opinion from Judge Richard Schell resolving six motions in a case involving a defendant’s liability for cargo damage, including most notably, cross motions for summary judgment as to whether Defendant BNSF was liable for cargo damage following a derailment.
Motions for new trial don’t have quite the same significance in federal court as they do in Texas state court, but they are, nonetheless an important tool to at least evaluate after hell has gone to a handbasket at trial. In this Sherman Division case, Judge Clark denied a motion for new trial by the losing party which raised several issues.
I usually don’t post cases that involve pro se parties or motions that aren’t opposed, but the Court’s analysis of this motion to compel arbitration is a helpful summary of the necessary analysis on whether to enforce an arbitration clause contained in a contract, and when a court may appoint an arbitrator.