December 5, 2023


Equality opinion

District Court Finds Plaintiff Failed to Meet Pre-Filing Meet and Confer Requirements

District Court Finds Plaintiff Failed to Meet Pre-Filing Meet and Confer Requirements

In SSMiller IP LLC v. Sugar Beets LLC, 2-22-cv-02576 (CDCA Oct. 21, 2022) District Choose George H. Wu of the Central District of California discovered the get-togethers did not adequately meet and confer as expected by the Regional Rules before Plaintiff filed its movement to dismiss Defendant’s noninfringement and invalidity counterclaims. The Court docket, in its discretion, even now viewed as the movement to dismiss but in the end summarily denied plaintiff’s movement.

In the situation, Plaintiff sued Defendant on April 18, 2022 accusing Defendant of infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 8,510,699 and 10,165,844 (“the ’699 patent” and “the ’884 patent”). On June 13, 2022, Defendant answered and asserted 4 counterclaims for: (1) declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the ’699 patent (2) declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the ’884 patent (3) declaratory judgment of invalidity of the ’699 patent and (4) declaratory judgment of invalidity of the ’884 patent. On July 12, 2022, the Courtroom issued a scheduling order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Method 26(f) which said that the “[l]ast working day to amend without continuing beneath Fed. R. Civ. P. 16 [is] September 16, 2022.”

On September 16, 2022, the past working day to amend for every the Scheduling Buy devoid of proceeding beneath Federal Rule of Civil Method 16, Defendant filed its Initially Amended Counterclaim (“FAC”) including a 3rd-get together defendant and asserting four new and supplemental counterclaims for: (1) violation of the Lanham Act (2) violation of California’s Unfair Level of competition Regulation (3) violation of California’s Fake Promoting Legislation, and (4) wrong designation of origin. Plaintiff then moved to dismiss Defendant’s 4 recently additional counterclaims in the FAC below Federal Rule of Civil Process 15 on grounds that Defendant unsuccessful to attain Plaintiff’s consent or go away of courtroom to file its FAC.

Central District of California Nearby Rule 7-3 demands “counsel contemplating the submitting of any motion shall to start with call opposing counsel to go over thoroughly, if possible in person, the compound of the contemplated movement and any opportunity resolution. The conference shall consider area at the very least seven (7) times prior to the filing of the motion. If the events are unable to achieve a resolution which removes the necessity for a listening to, counsel for the relocating social gathering shall involve in the see of motion a statement to the subsequent result: ‘this movement is created adhering to the conference of counsel pursuant to L.R. 7-3 which took position on (date).’” If the going get together does not comply with Neighborhood Rule 7-3, the Court docket might refuse to listen to the motion.

Listed here, the Court docket observed that Plaintiff did not comply with Area Rule 7- 3 just before submitting its movement to dismiss. Specially, Plaintiff’s counsel still left Defense counsel a voicemail on September 22, 2022, that indicated Plaintiff’s intent to file the motion, but under no circumstances actually spoke with Defense counsel. Plaintiff then filed their movement the really upcoming working day, on September 23, 2022. Consequently, the Court identified that the get-togethers did not and could not have “thoroughly” reviewed “the compound of the contemplated movement,” as needed by the area rules. Nevertheless, the Court docket, in its discretion, however made a decision to think about that motion and rule on the merits of the dispute in spite of the failure to comply with the Regional Regulations. But, the Courtroom said transferring forward, any foreseeable future failure to interact in the needed fulfill-and confer system may perhaps result in ideal sanctions, like refusal to hear a movement.

As to the material of the movement to dismiss, the Plaintiff moved to dismiss the 4 new counterclaims in the FAC pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Process 15 due to the fact Defendant experienced failed to get hold of Plaintiff’s consent or go away of courtroom to file its FAC. However, the Courtroom located that because Defendant was no cost to amend up right until September 16, 2022 for each the Court’s own Scheduling Order and Defendant filed its FAC on that deadline, the Defendant’s FAC was thoroughly filed below the Scheduling Get. Thus, the Court docket summarily denied the movement to dismiss.

This circumstance is a powerful reminder to fork out near consideration to all procedural regulations governing a circumstance, which includes precisely all Local Policies of the District and any Scheduling Orders and/or Standing Orders issued by the Decide. Failure to do so can outcome in denial of a movement, a court docket refusing to listen to a movement, or other sanctions.