Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark | District of Delaware | United States District Court
Chief Judge Stark Denies Defendants' Motion for Reargument of Court's obligation to meet and confer with Plaintiffs before filing their motion. FEDERAL PRACTICE IN THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE. 1 Rules of Civil Procedure and each district judge's rules and practices. 1. Meet and confer. 2. . Be familiar with Chief Judge Stark's new () patent procedures (Tab 7) a. The PSG, convened by District of Delaware Judges Stark and Sue L. a Case Management Order requiring the parties to “meet and confer.
These revised procedures affect nearly every aspect of a case including scheduling, motions, discovery, claim construction, and trial. Indeed, many of these issues must now be addressed very early in the case. Practitioners who practice in the District of Delaware should familiarize themselves with these new procedures and plan their cases accordingly. Judge Stark cites three general principles underlying his revised procedures: Early investment of judicial resources to identify the best schedule for each case; Initially treating each patent case as its own case, even if it is related to a case or cases that have already been filed; and Identifying and reducing or eliminating the areas that generally provide the highest likelihood for lengthy delays.
Within seven days of the assignment, the Court will issue a Referral Order referring all matters relating to scheduling and motions to dismiss, stay, or transfer venue to Magistrate Judge Christopher J.
The plaintiff s must then file a proposed Procedures Order within seven days after the entry of the Referral Order. A form Procedures Order provides certain procedures for scheduling, discovery disputes, and motions to amend and strike.
Another Delaware Judge Outlines New Patent Case Practices - Law
For example, instead of calling chambers to request a discovery dispute teleconference, parties will now be required to submit a joint letter. Prior to filing the joint letter, local and lead counsel for the parties must attempt to resolve the dispute through verbal communication. Additionally, discovery motions, motions to amend, or motions to strike must be submitted by letter briefs of up to three pages rather than full briefs and will be briefed on a condensed schedule.
Most notable, however, are the revised case management procedures that will likely affect case preparation and strategy the most.
Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark
Judge Stark will no longer wait until all defendants have responded to the complaint to schedule a conference. The Checklist requires lead and local counsel for each party to discuss, either by phone or in person, an extensive list of issues related to discovery, claim construction, related cases, remedies, amendments, motions, summary judgment, and scheduling.
Thus, both plaintiffs and defendants must be prepared to address these types of issues at the very beginning of the case. After meeting and conferring about the items on the Checklist, the parties must jointly file the Checklist and their proposed scheduling order within 30 days of the Case Management Order. At the conference, each party must be represented by lead and local counsel and counsel should be prepared to discuss each matter on the checklist.
This case management and scheduling process will not generally be deferred due to the pendency of motions to dismiss, transfer, or stay. First, it was recommended that the judges devote more resources earlier in their cases, which could help identify weaker cases and end them early.
Second, it was important to set a schedule including a trial date at the beginning of the case and keep it. And third, they heard about the importance of issuing decisions quickly, even if those decisions are not long, written opinions.
In response to what Judge Robinson heard during these meetings, she issued a new, much-discussed model scheduling order earlier this year.
She made many changes to her standard practices, including earlier Markman claim construction hearings and a goal of issuing claim construction opinions within 30 days of the hearingsno longer presumptively bifurcating liability from damages, and enacting an 8 p.
Eastern time filing deadline for filings due on a certain day sorry West Coast practitioners. He has not yet issued a new form scheduling order, but he expects to this summer.
Judge Stark outlined the following expected changes: He will hold early case management conferences in chambers. Before these conferences, the parties will be required to meet, discuss items on a checklist prepared by the court, and certify that this discussion has taken place. The checklist items will be discussed at the case management conference.
Case management conferences will be set after any defendant files a motion or an answer. Judge Stark will no longer wait until all defendants have responded to the complaint to set a scheduling conference. This implies that a motion to dismiss will not delay the start of a patent case. Each case will be treated individually for purposes of setting scheduling conferences. Related cases involving the same patent s will not necessarily proceed on the same track.
He will presumptively set a trial date in the initial case scheduling order.
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Motions to transfer, stay, or dismiss will be referred to a magistrate judge. He eventually may refer case management conferences and scheduling to a magistrate judge as well. He will be less resistant to early Markman hearings, especially where construction of a small number of terms could be case dispositive.
Motions to amend and strike will be handled the same way as discovery disputes — with short letter briefs preceding a teleconference. He will require Delaware and lead counsel if different for both sides to certify they have spoken before allowing a discovery dispute teleconference, and counsel must provide a joint agenda for the conference. He will set an aspirational goal of issuing a Markman opinion within 60 days of the claim construction hearing, or he will let the parties know he will not meet this day goal.
He will set page limits on all motions for summary judgment, Daubert motions, and post-trial motions and limit each party to a single motion and brief of each type.