It's always good to know where the lines are. Today, Judge Williams awarded attorneys fees after the plaintiff in a Defend Trade Secrets Act action maintained an "objectively specious" argument after the close of fact discovery:
A claim is objectively specious where there is a complete lack of evidentiary proof from the party suing. . . . [T]he Court agrees with [defendant] Backer that [plaintiff] ZIM litigated this matter with knowledge that its claims were objectively specious. While Backer contends that ZIM knew that its claims were objectively baseless when it filed the Complaint, the Court finds that ZIM understood that its claims were objectively specious by the close of fact discovery on January 12, …
We've talked before about the Court's decision to award fees against Blackbird Tech LLC, based on Blackbird's "objectively baseless post-Markman litigation strategy."
Back in August, the Court ordered the parties to submit a stipulated fee amount, or for the defendant to submit a fee accounting. Since then, Defendant submitted a fee accounting showing $485,420.74 in fees, consisting of $404,734.68 for lead counsel and $80,686.06 for local counsel. Blackbird filed a very short statement opposing the fees amount.
The substance of Blackbird's statement is entirely redacted, but we can tell from the Court's order that they basically just argued that they are out of business:
Blackbird responded [to the fee accounting] with a "Statement" containing less than a page of text. (D.I. 275). Blackbird says it is out of business, has no assets, and is winding up under Massachusetts law.
M2M Solutions LLC v. Sierra Wireless America Inc., C.A. No. 14-1102-RGA, D.I. 279 at 1 (D. Del. Apr. 25, 2023).
The Court held that the fact that Blackbird is out of business has no impact on the fee award amount, but noted the (very, very likely) difficulty of collecting on fees:
That may all be true, but that does not state any reasons why I should not make the award. It merely suggests that collecting on the award may be difficult to impossible.
Redactions Strike Again
If you are someone who frequently files fee declarations after winning fee motions, you probably know that it can be tricky to support the reasonableness of fee requests. Most firms keep their rates ...
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