A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: trial-scheduling

COVID-19
COVID-19, CDC/Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin

Today the Court issued a standing order formally cancelling the remaining jury trials scheduled until April 5, 2021. As we noted in our last update, the District of Delaware had already canceled all jury trials through the end of February.

Today's order leaves open the possibility of a jury trial under some circumstances:

discretion . . . remains with each presiding judge to order a jury trial in the event of an emergency or other truly urgent situation . . . .

It's hard to envision, however, what circumstances might lead to an emergency jury trial.

Of course, as the order notes, all other proceedings, including bench trials, have been proceeding smoothly …

Calendar
Adam Tinworth, Unsplash

At this point, every trial listed in our last jury trial update has been continued or delayed, almost all due to coronavirus concerns. Here is the breakdown:

  • January 25, 2021: Novel Drug Solutions, LLC et al v. Harrow Health, Inc., C.A. No. 18-539-MN (D. Del.) (Noreika, J.): After a joint request to delay trial due in part to coronavirus issues, this trial was "continued to dates TBD."
  • February 17, 2021: U.S. v. Joanna L. Crane, C.A. No. 20-51-CFC (D. Del.) (Connolly, J.): This trial was continued for reasons unrelated to COVID-19.
  • February 22, 2021: U.S. v. Davine Boyce, C.A. No. 20-43-CFC (D. Del.) (Connolly, J.): Delayed …

Trials in ANDA cases (also known as Hatch-Waxman cases) are usually very efficient matters. There is no jury, and the judges, lawyers, and witnesses that regularly try and participate in ANDA cases are well-practiced at maximizing the amount of evidence presented in each trial day (even where the issues are quite complicated and the parties numerous). So ANDA trials are often short, sometimes just a few days from start to finish.

Occasionally, however, even ANDA cases are too complicated to fit into a one-week-or-less trial. For example, Judge Stark recently stated that he may allocate up to 25 hours per side in an ANDA case set to go to trial later this week.

Bridge
Jamie Street, Unsplash

Motions in limine can be kind of exciting. The motions and the rulings are typically short, and they are ordinarily filed with the pretrial order just before trial. Unlike most motions, the Court usually rules on them quickly (between the PTO and the trial), sometimes live at the pretrial conference, and the impact is felt almost immediately.

Plus, orders that result from MILs can sometimes have a huge effect on the practical course of the trial by precluding important arguments and evidence, or even by interfering with your trial themes—frequently at the last minute. So it's worth keeping in mind the kinds of things that may come up at the MIL stage.

Last week, Judge Andrews …

COVID-19
CDC / Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Chief Judge Stark spoke at a virtual FBA event in Delaware today, and gave an update on the Court's COVID-19 plans going forward. Here are the main points:

  • The Court intends to remain in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which is the phase it has been in since September. The Court will keep trying to hold jury trials as scheduled trials come up.
  • No jury trials are scheduled for the remainder of December, but he understands that there are still trials set for January. Chief Judge Stark mentioned that he did not know the exact status of those cases. (Note that at least one judge has doubted that …

In light of the ongoing delays in restarting patent jury trials, and the rising COVID-19 numbers nationwide, it's no surprise to see Judge Andrews recognize that parties may be better served by having a bench trial in the near future rather than waiting an indeterminate time for a jury to be available:

ORAL ORDER: The court doubts that a jury trial will be feasible on Feb. 1. On the other hand, a bench trial would be very feasible. The parties are requested to discuss with each other whether they would mutually agree to a bench trial on Feb. 1, and, if they both do agree, report that fact to the court by no later than Dec. 9. If one …