Source Code Review

Protective orders are often entered in civil cases to protect confidential information from public disclosure. The more complex the case, the more complex the orders become, with varying levels of protection depending on the type of information, often culminating with near clean-room procedures for source code.

Such procedures usually begin with the provisions in a court’s standing protective order, but are often modified by the parties to reflect particular needs or concerns in a particular case. Only occasionally, as here, do the parties need to refer a dispute over a particular provision for resolution by the court, but when it occurs it’s informative to see what the dispute was and how the Court resolved it.

Deposition Location/Motions for Reconsideration

Fair warning – my January 2019 celebrity crushes are Jaylon Smith and Marie Kondo, so you may be seeing somewhat strained metaphorical references to both. I think that Marie Kondo would be terribly frustrated by civil litigation because orders often spark joy only in part. In cases like this one, it may be because the court is addressing both a substantive issue – do I get what I’m asking for – and a procedural one – did I ask for it correctly? So let’s see if the request for overseas depositions sparked joy for the Court.

Indefiniteness – the NASCAR of court holdings

Maybe it’s just me, but reading Markman rulings is sometimes a little like watching NASCAR. I’m only interested in the crashes. There are no doubt significant things happening when the Court adopts one party’s construction over the other, but without familiarity with the case it’s not immediately obvious how damaging the holding is. But as this case shows, to paraphrase Rob Lowe’s observation in a somewhat different context in About Last Night… with indefiniteness … you know. You know?

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.

“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.