Life Goes On After Jason Witten: Patent Claims No / Contract Claims Yes = Attorneys Fees

It’s a sad day with Jason Witten retiring from our beloved Cowboys, so I decided I had to wear the jersey to work. Which made for interesting sidewalk conversation when I asked a herd of lawyers headed past my office how they were expecting their hearing with Judge Gilstrap to go, where they were on the docket, and which pretrial motions they had rulings on already.  (This time next week Law.com will probably be running a story about how homeless people in Marshall quiz visiting lawyers about federal civil procedure).

But life goes on … as it did for the parties in this case in which Judge Mazzant entered judgment for $24 million and change following a jury verdict last fall in which the jury found that there was no patent infringement but that there was a breach of contract, specifically a confidentiality agreement, and assessed $15 million in damages.

Withdrawing Deemed Admissions

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.

Standards for Motions to Vacate Entry of Default and Default Judgment

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.

Motion to Dismiss Raises Personal Jurisdiction, Venue and Convenience

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.

Motion to Remand Granted

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.