Judge Albright hearing procedures during WFH

Judge Albright has issued procedures for how he’s conducting hearings (including Markman hearings) during the current environment.

All hearings on the Waco docket will continue as scheduled, but will occur telephonically. The Court will provide a call-in number, but the parties need to have a backup number just in case. Because in some cases several cases are set, you should dial in ten minutes before your hearing, but since multiple cases may be set, wait till your case is called to announce. (Be sure to put your phone on mute, and enjoy the show. Popcorn optional, but recommended).

PowerPoint slides. Your PowerPoint slides can WFH as well. If you want to use slides, email them to the Court 24 hours before the hearing. If both sides want to use slides, work out a time and email them at the agreed time at least that far out. If you don’t email slides at least 24 hours, the Court assumes you don’t want to use them.

Markman hearings. There is an exception to the 24 hour rule. You’ll get preliminary constructions from the Court before the hearing. Your slides are due within 6 hours of receiving those preliminary constructions. So you might want to make sure everyone on the Markman team is available the evening before the hearing to refine the slide deck based on the constructions, just in case.

Ed. note: I’d be sure to number your slides so you can direct the Court to the one you’re using. A surprising number of people don’t put numbers on their slide decks, which isn’t fatal at live hearings, but will be on a telephonic one.

Everyone stay safe out there.

Update: Video Attendance by Lead Counsel & Party Reps at Mediation Permitted

Monday’s order precluding attendance at mediation by video was vacated sua sponte by Judge Gilstrap in light of the rapidly evolving developments surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

The Court issues this Order sua sponte. In light of rapidly evolving developments related to the COVID-19 virus, the Court hereby VACATES its order of March 16, 2020) (Dkt. No. 966) which required both lead and local counsel to mediate in person in Dallas, Texas. Such mediation would have required lead counsel to travel to Dallas, Texas from various locations around the country, and the Court is persuaded that an appropriate level of caution counsels against such travel at this time. The Court notes that both parties are represented by able and competent local counsel, both of whom are located in Tyler, Texas. Given the parties’ prior proposal to conduct mediation via videoconference, the Court agrees that videoconference participation is appropriate for national counsel who would otherwise have to travel in order to attend mediation.

Order at 1.

Accordingly, the order was modified to eliminate the in-person requirement for national counsel and parties – so long as the parties’ local counsel was present.