We've talked a lot about Judge Connolly's April 2022 standing orders on disclosure statements and litigation funding, including earlier this month when we Judge Connolly stayed an action after a plaintiff failed to fully comply with those orders.
(Plaintiff in that action, by the way, filed an updated disclosure statement claiming it has no knowledge to disclose—we'll have to see how the Court responds to that).
Yesterday, it happened again, but it was triggered by a clever filing by a defendant. In Longbeam Technologies LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1559-CFC (D. Del.), the Court put an order on the docket for the parties to comply with its standing orders:
ORAL ORDER: The parties are directed to certify within five days that they have complied with Chief Judge Connolly's April 18, 2022 Standing Order Regarding Disclosure Statements Required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 7.1. The parties are also reminded of their obligation to comply with Chief Judge Connolly's April 18, 2022 Standing Order Regarding Third-Party Funding Arrangements. Ordered by Judge Colm F. Connolly on 5/13/2022. (nmf) (Entered: 05/13/2022)
In response, plaintiff filed an updated Rule 7.1 statement but, as far as I can tell, no litigation funding
It seems like litigation funding is becoming a more active area for discovery disputes lately—a trend that is likely to continue after Judge Connolly granted a dismissal based on a litigation funding agreement late last year. SeeUniloc USA, Inc. v. Motorola Mobility, LLC, C.A. No. 17-1658-CFC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 244512, at *25 (D. Del. Dec. 30, 2020).
Last week, Judge Burke confirmed a previous denial of litigation funding discovery, offering some additional thoughts:
ORAL ORDER: The Court, having now reviewed the parties' supplemental letter briefs . . . in which Defendants ask the Court to reconsider its March 2, 2021 Order . . . , hereby notes as follows: . . …
It's a tough scenario: you think your opponent might have assigned away their patent rights, but you aren't exactly sure. And the only way you could know for sure is with information you don't have.
Most of the time in D. Del., disputes like this are addressed in a hearing transcript or an oral order. They don't make headlines, and they never hit Lexis or Westlaw, but they often provide helpful guidance for the future.
Yesterday, Judge Burke issued an oral order denying a request to compel a plaintiff to turn over its litigation funding documents. The defendants knew that the plaintiff had third-party litigation funding (and suspected that there might have been some assignment of …
I thought this was interesting. Last week Judge Burke granted a motion to compel a plaintiff's witness to respond on questions about the plaintiff's litigation financing arrangements.
Apparently plaintiff's attorneys instructed the witness not to answer at the deposition, but in the discovery dispute they only argued that the information is irrelevant, and did not raise privilege. Since relevance is not a valid justification for an instruction not to answer under FRCP 30, the Court permitted defendant to re-ask the question and held that plaintiff's witness must answer.
About Those Redacted Versions
I say plaintiff "apparently" objected only on reasonableness grounds because plaintiff never filed the redacted version of its sealed letter brief—a common problem.
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