Motion to Transfer to WDWA Denied

Judge Payne denied Amazon’s motion seeking a transfer to Washington, finding that “Defendant’s generalized argument that documents are located in the Western District of Washington based on development efforts in Seattle is unpersuasive in light of the supporting assertions demonstrating that the documentary evidence is actually located on servers in Oregon or Virginia.” He also concluded, citing the Fifth Circuit’s guidance in In re Clarke, that “Amazon’s speculative statistics [the number of cases pending before each forum] carry little weight, and that the significantly lower time to trial in this District weighs against transfer.”

Preemption Summary Judgment?

Judge Payne denied this motion for summary judgment, finding that the Plaintiff’s negligent hiring of a truck driver claims against the defendant were not preempted by federal law, and not supported by evidence. Despite finding the plaintiff’s opposition “largely unhelpful” Judge Payne nonetheless concluded that courts across the country have largely decided this issue in one of three ways: finding the preemption language of 49 U.S.C. §14501 does not cover claims of negligent hiring; the preemption language does cover such claims but the claims fall under the safety exception of §14501(c)(2); or that the preemption language covers such claims and they do not fall under the safety exception. He also found that Texas recognizes the tort of negligent hiring, including for an independent contractor and thus there was a duty for Keystone to violate, and that “Plaintiff has provided evidence that, when viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, would show Keystone violated its duty by failing to vet Avnoor and that but for that violation Plaintiff would not have been injured.”

Joint Motion to Dismiss Denied

“While the parties can stipulate between themselves for these conditions,” Judge Payne wrote, “this Court will not try to bind any court where this claim might be refiled. Therefore, the conditions are DENIED without prejudice. The parties may refile the motion without the conditions, or make clear that the conditions are just a stipulation between the parties rather than an order of this Court.”

Motions to Strike Experts & Lawyers Incorporating By Reference

Judge Payne granted parts of both motions to strike the plaintiff’s experts. Of particular interest is the Court’s striking of certain theories in the expert’s report, agreeing that they were not sufficiently disclosed in the plaintiff’s infringement contentions or “entirely conclusory with no analysis”, as well as its discussion of certain briefing tactics.

A Dispute of Summary Judgment Rulings

What else would you call them? A scintilla? In any event, Judge Payne issued four orders recommending resolution of the numerous pending summary judgment motions in this case. He recommended granting the defendant’s motions for (1) summary judgment of noninfringement as to the ‘525 patent, (2) partial summary judgment of noninfringement under the doctrine of equivalents, and (3) partial summary judgment of pre-suit willful infringement, but denying the motion for partial summary judgment of no presuit indirect infringement. He also recommending granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on certain of the defendant’s affirmative defenses, including its attempt to reserve the right to add more defenses later.

Changing Case Captions Midstream

I won’t say I haven’t seen it happen – but it didn’t here. “[T]he Court finds that changing the caption midway through the case results in unnecessary confusion,” Judge Payne wrote. “Accordingly, the original caption will remain. However, any papers given to the jury at the trial will bear the new name of the entity as it exists at that time.”