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.

Continue Reading The State of the Northern District Remains Strong

Chief Judge Holderman recently gave his annual State of the Northern District speech. In a word, Judge Holderman said that the state of the District is “good.” Here are some of the highlights of the presentation (click here to read the Court’s press release):
* Judge Gettleman intends to take senior status May 5 and Judge Coar intends to take senior status August 12. Additionally, Magistrate Judge Ashman intends to retire later this year.
* Combined with the vacancy created when Judge Filip went to the Justice Department, when Judges Gettleman and Coar take senior status there will be three Article III and one magistrate vacancies on the Court.
* Civil filings were up 2.7% in 2008 over 2007. And the Court resolves those disputes quickly. The Northern District is in the top 10% of district court with its median time of 6.2 months to disposition.
* The Court is participating in a pilot program which allows jurors to fill out jury forms and get information about their service online.

Continue Reading State of the Northern District is Good

According to Chief Judge Holderman during the annual state of the Northern District speech, the state of the Northern District is “good” — click here for the Northern District’s statement regarding the speech. The Northern District was briefly at full capacity, between Judge Dow’s appointment to the Northern District and Judge Filip’s resignation to join the Department of Justice. Other highlights of the presentation included:
The Northern District remains in the top ten districts in terms of median time to civil case disposition at 6.2 months.
Magistrate Judges Brown and Mahoney were reappointed to additional eight year terms; and
The Northern District’s 2007 civil case load remained nearly constant, falling only .5% from its 2006 level.
The Northern District’s steady civil case load is especially impressive in light of the Seventh Circuit’s reduced case load in 2007. The Chicago Tribune’s Ameet Sachdev reported — click here for the story — that the Seventh Circuit’s Chief Judge Easterbrook, during his state of the Seventh Circuit speech, reported that the Seventh Circuit’s case load dropped 10% for the second year in a row. Sachdev noted that federal appellate court case loads had averaged a 5% drop per year since 2000. And Easterbrook explained the Seventh Circuit’s 10% drop for 2007 as based upon two primary factors:
The Seventh Circuit’s district courts saw an overall 6% drop in their case loads; and
The Seventh Circuit’s preference for bright line rules over totality of the circumstance tests made it easier for entities to settle their disputes, saying:
Rules make it easier for private parties to avoid litigation, or settle their disputes, without asking for appellate evaluation in every case.

Continue Reading State of the Northern District is “Good”

While Judge Filip heads to Washington as Deputy Attorney General, the Northern District has reassigned his cases — click here for the Executive Committee’s Order. At least the following IP cases have been reassigned:
Judge Andersen
1:07-cv-05666 Dicam, Inc. v. United States Cellular
Judge Dow
1:07-cv-02883 Kids Hope USA, Inc. v. Kids Hope United
Judge Kennelly
1:06-cv-05611 Liquid Dynamics Corporation v. Vaughn Co.
Judge Zagel
1:07-cv-03339 Borg Warner Inc. et al. v. Hilite International, Inc. et al.

Continue Reading Judge Filip’s Cases Reassigned

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Judge Filip’s nomination as Deputy Attorney General has cleared one of its final hurdles — click here for the story. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) agreed to remove a hold placed on Judge Filip’s confirmation vote after Attorney General Michael Mukasey answered Senator Durbin’s questions regarding the legality of interrogation techniques. According to a Chicago Tribune story (click here for the story), Judge Filip is expected to be confirmed by the Senate. Of course, that is not surprising since the Senate previously confirmed him to become a federal district judge.

Continue Reading Judge Filip to Get Senate Confirmation Vote

New Attorney General Michael Mukasey has nominated Northern District Judge Mark Filip to be his Deputy Attorney General (the #2 position at the Department of Justice), replacing acting Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford. Judge Filip clerked for Justice Scalia and served as a Northern District Assistant United States Attorney for five years, before briefly entering private practice and then taking the bench. Here is what the Chicago Tribune (via the Associated Press) had to say about Judge Filip’s sterling reputation as a judge:
Filip was nominated for the federal bench in November 2003, and he is widely viewed as a smart and down-to-earth jurist. He was ranked first among federal judges in terms of integrity and professionalism in a 2006 poll of Chicago-area attorneys.
Congratulations Judge Filip. You will be missed in the Northern District.
I will keep you updated on the confirmation process and who is nominated to fill the vacancy that Judge Filip’s confirmation will create.
* A hat tip to the WSJ Law Blog for the fast post regarding Judge Filip’s nomination.

Continue Reading Northern District Judge Filip Nominated to be Deputy Attorney General

Flentye v. Kathrein, __ F. Supp.2d __, 2007 WL 1175576 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 18, 2007) (Filip, J.).

Judge Filip denied defendants’ motions to dismiss, except as to plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, because Illinois law does not allow punitives for IIED.  Plaintiffs (collectively "Flentye") promoted apartment rental services , including some properties owned by Flentye, using their family name, Flentye.  Defendants competed with Flentye promoting similar apartments, some of which were owned by defendant Kathrein LLC.  Flentye brought suit against defendants alleging violations of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA"), Lanham Act unfair competition and related state law claims.  Flentye alleges that defendants lost a dispute before the UDRP and were forced to return certain domain names to Flentye, including timflentye.com, flentye.com and flentyeproperties.com.  Flentye alleged that defendants then registered new domain name timflentye-not.com and used it to direct traffic to defendants’ competing websites.  Flentye also alleged that defendants improperly used the term "Flentye" in its meta tags (key words embedded into a site’s source code to director search engines to the site) to direct users seeking information regarding Flentye to defendants sites. 

Defendants first argued that Flentye failed to plead its veil-piercing claims and that, therefore, corporate defendant Kathrein LLC should be dismissed because there were not sufficient allegations against it without a veil-piercing theory.  But the Court held that notice pleading was sufficient for a veil-piercing argument and that Flentye met the notice standard.  It was sufficient that Flentye pled that individual defendant Kathrein  created defendant Kathrein LLC "for the sole purpose of holding title to local real estate through which [Kathrein] operates Lee Street Management" and that in the caption Kathrein LLC was identified as "d/b/a Lee Street Management."  The Court noted that while these allegations might not be sufficient to prove that the veil was pierced, they were sufficient for Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) notice pleading.  The Court also noted that a claim of corporate veil-piercing did not require Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) heightened pleading.


Continue Reading Notice Pleading of Veil-Piercing Preserves Complaint