Statutes permitting discretionary attorney fee-shifting for prevailing defendants vary in the circumstances under which fee-shifting is permitted. Two recent cases tackling the question of why and when a lawsuit warrants shifting attorneys’ fees from a prevailing defendant to the plaintiff who brought the claim reflect some of these differences. One case focused on “frivolousness” of the lawsuit, and the other imposed a “bad faith” requirement—despite the absence of such language from the relevant statute. The perceived motivation of the respective plaintiffs and purpose behind the statutes under which the claims were brought were influential.
A three-way circuit split has long plagued the realm of attorney-client privilege on how to treat communications that implicate both legal and non-legal concerns (known as “dual-purpose communications”). Namely, if a lawyer communicates with their client, simultaneously providing legal advice and business advice, is the entire communication protected by the attorney-client privilege? How substantial must the legal advice be for the communication to be privileged? The Supreme Court recently had the opportunity to resolve this split, but in a strange turn of events, dismissed the previously granted writ of certiorari as improvidently granted two weeks after hearing oral argument. Before delving into the oral argument and subsequent dismissal by the Supreme Court, it is worth reviewing a brief history of the existing circuit split.
Defendants on the losing side of a class certification order were recently provided with a roadmap of how to challenge a district court’s analysis on appeal.
On April 12, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded a district court’s class certification order because it failed to “rigorously analyze” the prerequisites to certify a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. The appellate court held that the district court abused its discretion by failing to “go beyond the pleadings” – in other words, the plaintiffs’ allegations – in its analysis.
The Seventh Circuit recently clarified an important distinction between offers of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 and non-Rule 68 offers of settlement, and explained the role rejection of such offers plays in reducing statutory attorney fee awards.
The answer? Not much, in itself. If one patent is good, 132 is probably fine too. That was Judge Easterbrook’s reasoning in a recent decision addressing indirect purchasers’ antitrust challenge to AbbVie’s so-called “patent thicket” of 132 patents around the blockbuster drug Humira, arguing the sheer number of patents blocked…
Qui tam cases in American jurisprudence rely on a simple premise: help prevent nefarious actors from defrauding the government and Uncle Sam will compensate you for your efforts. With its roots in English law, the American version was adopted during the Civil War in light of alleged fraud by federal contractors skirting the proper procurement process. Our American cousin to this English theory was colloquially known as “Lincoln’s Law,” better known today as the False Claims Act (the “FCA”). The FCA permits private parties or “relators” to relate the matter to the Court by suing on behalf of the federal government against any contractor who issued to the government “a false or fraudulent claim of payment or approval.” 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(A). Should the government choose to intervene, the relator could see a payday ranging from 15 and 30 percent of the penalty collected in that action.
When a district court issues an order extending a filing deadline, it is usually safe to assume that your client will not be prejudiced as long as you file within the period ordered by the court.
However, consider the case of Charmaine Hamer. She recently lost summary judgment on an age-discrimination claim against her former employer and sought to appeal. Prior to the expiration of the 30-day period for filing a notice of appeal prescribed by FRAP 4(a), she asked the district court for an extension. The district court granted her an additional 65 days to file her notice. Hamer then filed the notice within the extended period prescribed by the court, and the case went up to the Seventh Circuit.