Today, the Court took the further step of requiring the owners of plaintiff entities in 14 cases to appear in-person for evidentiary hearings regarding compliance with his standing orders.
The orders today generally took the following form:
Whereas the amended corporate disclosure forms Plaintiff ﬁled in the above-captioned cases identify [owner name(s)] as Plaintiff s owner; and
Whereas the Court has concerns about whether Plaintiff has complied with the Court's standing order regarding third-paty litigation funding [or about the accuracy of the corporate disclosure statements];
NOW THEREFORE, at Wilmington this Twelfth day of September in 2022, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. The Court will hold on [date and time] an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Plaintiff has complied with the Court's standing order regarding third-party litigation funding;
2. The following individuals shall attend the hearing in person: [local counsel], [owner(s)].
It looks like there are three hearings set, all told, with multiple plaintiff entities—and their owners—at each:
- October 24, 2022 at 9 am: Hearing on accuracy of corporate disclosure statements in six cases brought by Missed Call, LLC or Safe IP LLC
- November 10, 2022 at 10am: Hearing on compliance with the litigation funding order in six cases brought by Lamplight Licensing LLC, Backertop Licensing LLC, and Creekview IP LLC
- December 6, 2022 at 10am: Hearing on compliance with the litigation funding order in two Mellaconic IP cases
It's not immediately obvious what sparked the Court's concerns. I took a look at a few of the dockets, and I saw no litigation funding disclosures at all. But the standing order does not require a disclosure if a party lacks litigation funding—it applies only to cases where a party is receiving funding:
[I]n all cases assigned to Chief Judge Connolly where a party has made arrangements to receive from a person or entity that is not a party (a "Third-Party Funder") funding for some or all of the party's attorney fees and/or expenses to litigate this action on a non-recourse basis in exchange for (1) a financial interest that is contingent upon the results of the litigation or (2) a non-monetary result that is not in the nature of a personal loan, bank loan, or insurance . . .
So it would seem that something other than the lack of a disclosure is likely behind the Court's orders here.
P.S. If the name Missed Call, LLC looks familiar, it may be because we were just talking about that case and Delaware counsel's efforts there to withdraw from his representation of plaintiff.