“Pruning” Type Motions to Dismiss

One of the commonly cited uses for a motion to dismiss to to identify and cut out of a case claims or defenses which don’t have support, either in the law or in the facts of the case.  Such motions serve the useful purpose of pruning cases back to what’s actually at issue, although I have an editorial comment on that below.

But as with any pruning job, there’s a line between cutting off the dead wood and cutting out causes of action that are still at least potentially live.  This recent EDTX case illustrates where this line is with respect to pleaded claims.

Anti-SLAPP Presentation Interrupts Trade Secrets Presentation

Just witnessed one of the more brilliant presentation tactics I’ve ever seen.  Paul Storm was just up talking about a case involving trade secrets, and as soon as he mentioned a particular party, his co-panelist Mike Karson stopped him, and took over the podium to begin explaining the effect that an Anti-SLAPP motion could have interrupting a case (as he did Paul’s presentation). Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

More Proportionality; Motion to Compel Sales Information Granted in Part

This is an order resolving a motion to compel on damages issues in a patent case.  At issue was whether the Defendants, a parent and a subsidiary, were required to provide financial data on infringing sales made by the parent to entities other than the named sub, and whether Defendants were required to provide financial data for certain additional products.  The Court granted one but denied the other, citing the “p” word and providing a useful list of things not to do to preserve a claim for discovery.

Feed Me, Seymour

Did you know there was a Texas Business Opportunities Act?  I did not know that.  But here it is, one of the pleaded causes of action in a case brought by unhappy franchisees of a non-surgical weight loss business.  Which brings up another thing I’d never heard of before – a Sculpt Pod.  Oh sure, I saw it in Little Shop of Horrors but as a legit weight loss device? 

All of which, of course, cannot help but generate a motion to remand this very interesting set of facts and causes of action to back to state court, with some interesting observations by the Court on when a claim arises under federal law.

Motion to Dismiss False Claims Act Complaint Granted in Part

This Monday’s False Claims Act case is a report & recommendation by a magistrate judge, adopted by the district judge, which addressed a motion to dismiss relator’s claims under the FCA’s first to file rule, and motions to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) and FRCP 9, which implicated both normal and heightened standards of pleadings.  No objections to the report were filed, thus the district court’s review was limited to plain error / manifest injustice, and it did not find any.

Proportionality Finally Gets Used in a Discovery Order

Let’s say you defeat an adversary in litigation, and you’re looking for assets from which a judgment can be satisfied.  Can you get discovery into your former opponent’s disposition of assets?  The answer is yes, but not prior to when you made your claim.  Why? Because it would not be proportional to the needs of the case. This order makes that finding, but then defines what discovery would be “proportional” under the circumstances.