In late January, the Northern District’s six newest judges attended a Federal Bar Association* panel to offer insights into their practices and chambers. The recurring theme of the discussion was a call for civility: Civility in court. Civility in briefs. Civility in emails. Over the next several weeks, I will provide summaries of each judge’s comments and insights. This post (the fifth in the series) focuses upon Magistrate Judge Kim:
- Be civil in court and in your papers.
- Do not include extraneous emails or exhibits to score points. They do not work.
- Tell your story in your answer, do not just deny.
- Rule 56.1 statements: short and concise facts.
Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC v. Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc., No. 95 C 4088, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 29, 2010) (Kim, Mag. J.).
Judge Kim granted declaratory judgment defendant Trading Technologies ("TT") approximately $290,000 of $375,000 requested in fees and costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2) in this patent case.* On March 14, 2007, the Court held that declaratory judgment plaintiff Rosenthal Collins Group’s ("RCG") summary judgment motion was "misleading," "disingenuous" and "prematurely filed" – click here to read more about the opinion in the Blog’s archives. The Court, therefore, found RCG’s conduct sanctionable, struck the motion without prejudice, struck the supporting Buist declaration, and ordered RCG to pay costs for TT’s software consultants, and attorney’s fees and costs related to the sanction motion.
On July 17, 2008, the Court denied RCG’s motion to vacate the sanction order and again ordered RCG to pay: 1) TT’s consultant; 2) TT’s deposition of the Buists; and 3) TT’s prosecution of the sanctions motions. The Court also ordered the parties to comply with Local Rule 54.3 by trying to come to agreement on the issues.
Initially, the Court observed that "contentiousness and obvious material distrust" demonstrated by both sides had "leached" into the parties briefing. The Court awarded TT the full amount of its expert fees and costs because those fees and costs were specifically awarded by Judge Moran and because TT showed that all of the expert’s work was impacted by or resulted from the misconduct. Those fees were approximately $52,000.
The Court also awarded TT’s attorney’s fees and costs of approximately $157,000 related to the depositions of the experts at issue. The only reduction was for a series of identical, cryptic time entries for "preparation of Buist witness kit". The court could not determine whether the fees were justified. The Court awarded TT its actual costs, instead of limiting the costs to the Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d) limits because this sanction award was pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 and, therefore, was not limited by Rule 54(d). The Court finally awarded $86,000 in fees and costs related to TT’s sanctions motion. The Court generally found TT’s fees and expenses reasonable, with limited exceptions. The Court limited fees for writing a "simple" two-page motion to two hours. The Court also deleted approximately $11,000 in apparently duplicative time entries.
Chief Judge Holderman recently gave the annual State of the Court address, concluding that the Northern District continues to be an active, growing district court. Civil case filings were up 6.2% from 2008 to 2009, and the Northern District remains in the top 10% of district courts for median time to disposition – 6.2 months.
The Court began 2009 with one vacant judgeship – created by Judge Filip’s March 2008 resignation. The Court ended 2009 with from after Judges Bucklo, Coar and Gettleman took senior status. In February 2010, Judge Manning also took senior status. Judge Feinerman was confirmed last month, reducing the vacant seats by one, but there could be five vacancies again at the end of July when Judge Anderson retires.
The magistrate bench was also active. Judges Ashman and Keys shifted to recalled status. Judges Finnegan, Gilbert and Kim joined the bench.
Finally, the number of registered e-filers is up 18% to over 25,000. And the daily filing rate is up 15% to an average 867 documents per day.