A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: frcp-15

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Wolfgang Hasselmann, Unsplash

The FRCP 15 standard for a motion to amend is very forgiving. It states that the Court should grant leave to amend "freely . . . when justice so requires." The Third Circuit likewise has a "policy favoring liberal amendment of pleadings." Dole v. Arco Chem. Co., 921 F.2d 484, 487 (3d Cir. 1990)

Regardless, a party can still lose a motion to amend if it waits long enough. That's what happened last week, when Judge Burke denied a motion to amend to add an unclean hands defense, a breach-of-contract claims, and a trade secret counterclaim.

The defendant waited to add its defenses until more than six months after the deadline to amend, and more …

You may not realize the dangers with certain stips.
You may not realize the dangers with certain stips. Andrew E. Russell, CC BY 2.0

It was a bit of a slow week as far as opinions from the District of Delaware, so I wanted to write a short post about stipulations, covering a few questions that sometimes come up.

What Can You Do by Stipulation in D. Del.?

In the District of Delaware, most litigation-related matters or facts can potentially be stipulated to. This includes, most commonly, extensions of deadlines. Parties routinely file, and the Court routinely grants, stipulations extending time for things like answer deadlines, deadlines to file a scheduling order, and protective order deadlines. Parties likewise routinely stipulate to the amendment of pleadings, FRCP 41 dismissals, …

In Delaware, Local Rule 7.1.2(b) sets deadlines for responding to motions, and states that

Except for the citation of subsequent authorities, no additional papers [other than the opening, answering, and reply briefs] shall be filed absent Court approval.

Based on this rule, parties file "notices of subsequent authorities" to present after-arising citations (and sometimes other content) to the Court.

But some attorneys disagree about just how much argument can accompany the "citation[s]" a notice of subsequent authority. The authority is mixed.

In some cases, the Court has declined to consider notices containing argument that are filed without leave. See, e.g., Forest Labs., Inc. v. Amneal Pharm. LLC, C.A. No. 14-508-LPS, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23215, at *51 …

Judge Burke granted a motion to strike yesterday where the plaintiff attempted to add indirect infringement allegations in final infringement contentions, but had not pled them in the complaint.

Per Judge Burke:

It is undisputed that Plaintiffs have never pleaded indirect infringement of these patents, (D.I. 170 at 1), and so any portion of their [final contentions] that relate to that subject matter are simply about infringement claims that are not a part of this case.

He also preemptively denied any future request to amend the complaint as coming too late:

Although they have not filed a formal motion seeking to amend their currently operative complaint to include such [indirect infringement] claims, to the extent Plaintiffs suggest they would …

The judges' form scheduling orders in D. Del. require deadlines for motions to amend, tracking FRCP 16(b)(3)(a), which says scheduling orders must limit the time to amend pleadings.

In an oral order on Friday, Judge Burke granted a motion to amend an answer that was filed on the day of the deadline set in the scheduling order.

He described how difficult it would be for a party to argue that a motion to amend was untimely when it was filed before the agreed-upon deadline:

It would be the unusual case where a Court had previously determined (at the parties' request) that amendment could be allowed by a certain date without causing harm to the case schedule, and yet …