Northern District of Illinois

On October 1, 2017, the Northern District began including a screenshot of any internet citation made in a judicial opinion as a separate docket entry associated with the opinion. The Seventh Circuit Library has been gathering and archiving screenshots of any internet citation in Northern District judicial opinions since January 2007. This move by the

Chief Judge Holderman has instituted an operations plan in the event of a federal government shutdown. The Northern District will operate normally for the first two weeks of any shutdown. Should a shutdown continue longer than two weeks, the Northern District will operate with essential personnel as set forth by the United States Court’s Administrative Office. Here is the full text of Chief Judge Holderman’s statement:
To the People of the Northern District of Illinois,
Please be assured that here in the Northern District of Illinois, Clerk of the Court Mike Dobbins and I have conferred and have developed a plan for our court to deal in the short term with the contingency now facing us of Congress failing to pass the federal budget or to authorize another continuing resolution.
We will keep the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois open and functioning with only minor modifications in our procedures for at least two weeks if Congress fails to establish a budget to keep the United States Government functioning. If the shutdown continues longer than two weeks, the court will continue to operate with essential personnel as defined by guidelines issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
We plan to continue to provide justice to the fullest extent possible and in the same excellent way as we have in the past. Thank you for your understanding.
Chief Judge James F. Holderman

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Institutes Plan in Case of Government Shutdown

The Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program is sponsoring a free e-discovery webinar on April 6, 2011 from noon until 1:30 pm CDT. This is the next in a series of e-discovery seminars sponsored by the local federal courts which have been excellent so far. Participation is limited to 1,500. So, sign up early — click here to register. Attendance for the past events has been impressive. 1.5 hours of MCLE credit have been applied for in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Here are the details of the webinar from the Northern District’s inviation:
What Everyone Should Know About the Mechanics of E-Discovery
April 6, 2011 – Noon – 1:30 p.m. (CDT)
Understanding the mechanics of electronic discovery is essential to your effectiveness in litigation and to fulfill your responsibility to your clients. The Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program, together with Merrill Corporation, has developed a program designed to assist you in mastering the e-discovery challenges of today’s litigation and to help you manage the preservation, retrieval and production of ESI through the e-discovery process. You will gain information including:
A basic understanding of the terminology unique to the realm of e-discovery.
The meaning of preservation and how to achieve this crucial obligation in an evolving technological landscape.
How to assess and manage the challenges of an e-discovery project.
A foundational understanding to help you identify potential e-discovery pitfalls and potential problems.

Continue Reading CLE: What Everyone Should Know About the Mechanics of E-Discovery

Illinois’ senior senator, Dick Durbin, has announced a bipartisan screening committee to assist in filling the Northern District’s three vacant judgeships, as well as for future vacancies. If you are interested in applying for one of the vacant seats, click here to get an application from Senator Durbin’s website. The questionnaire portion of the application is similar to that used by the Senate Judiciary Committee in reviewing judicial appointments. Applications are due by Monday, January 31.
The screening committee will review the applications and make several recommendations for each open seat to Senator Durbin, who will work with Senator Kirk to propose nominees to President Obama. Members of the screening committee include (along with a portion of their respective bios from Senator Durbin’s website):
Dick Devine (chair). Mr. Devine was elected Cook County State’s Attorney in 1996 and served in that role until 2008. He currently is a partner at the law firm of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP, where he leads the firm’s white-collar criminal defense and commercial litigation practices.
Demetrius Carney. Mr. Carney is a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie. He is the president of the Chicago Police Board and a former commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Plan Commission.
Philip Corboy, Jr. Mr. Corboy is a partner at the law firm of Corboy & Demetrio. He is president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, president of the board of directors of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, former board member of the Chicago Bar Association, and member of the dean’s council of DePaul University law school.
Kevin Forde. Mr. Forde has his own law practice in Chicago. He is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association, board chair of the Federal Defender Program in the Northern District of Illinois, counsel to the Federal Judges Association, and chair of the Illinois Compensation Review Board. He served as a law clerk to Judge William Campbell in the Northern District of Illinois.
Patricia Holmes. Ms. Holmes is a partner at the law firm of Schiff Hardin, where she heads the white collar crime group. She previously served as a former state trial judge, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, an Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County, and Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago.
Betty Jang. Ms. Jang is legal counsel and director at CVS Caremark in Northbrook. Previously she served as senior counsel at the McDonald’s Corporation, a litigator at Hinshaw & Culbertson, an attorney with the Cook County Public Defender, and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois law school.
Paul Logli. Paul Logli is currently President and CEO of the United Way of Rock River Valley. He previously served for 21 years as the State’s Attorney for Winnebago County, and also served as a judge on the 17th Judicial Circuit Court.
Cheryl Niro. Ms. Niro is a principal in the law firm of RobinsonNiro PC. She previously served as past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations.
Michele Ruiz. Ms. Ruiz is a partner at the law firm of Sidley Austin. She was selected as a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow.
Diana White. Ms. White is the executive director of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, where she received the Equal Justice Award. Previously she was a partner at Jenner & Block and a law clerk to Judge Walter Cummings on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Continue Reading Senator Durbin Assembles a Committee to Review Applicants for Northern District Judicial Vacancies

The Northern District of Illinois continued its historically busy intellectual property docket in 2010. The most interesting statistic is a huge jump in patent filings this year — 250 patent cases filed this year, nearly double 2009’s 137 filings. And that is after a slight dip in filings from 2008 to 2009. I will discuss the 2010 filings in more detail in a post later this month, but even correcting for false patent marking suits, not all of which are included in the 250 filings because plaintiffs did not uniformly identify false marking cases as patent cases on civil cover sheets filed with the complaints, there was a significant increase in patent filings. That fits with my prediction in late 2008 that the Northern District’s new Local Patent Rules would drive cases to Chicago.*
Trademark cases continued their slow growth, showing a slight increase over 2009. Finally, copyright cases increased, after falling off sharply in 2009. This chart shows the number of yearly patent, trademark and copyright cases filed in the Northern District during calendar years 2006 through 2009 (data gathered from the Stanford IP Clearinghouse and Pacer):
Northern District IP FilingsCase Type
* Click here for much more on the Local Patent Rules in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois 2010 IP Case Filings:

This is the fifth installment of my twenty five tips for Northern District of Illinois litigation practice, with a focus on IP litigation (here are the earlier tips: 1-5; 6-10; 11-15; and 16-20). The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinions over the last four years. As you read them, let me know if you come up with others. I will be glad to include them as I go. Here are numbers twenty one through twenty five:
21. Calculate extensions in 7 day increments. The Federal Rules, and the Local Rules, now calculate deadlines in seven day increments. Based upon that, many Chicago judges expect parties to seek extensions in those same increments.
22. Respect Chambers. Chambers staff are pretty universally helpful, but be respectful of them and avoid annoying them. Before calling chambers, read the Local Rules and the judge’s website to make sure your question is not answered there. And call chambers with opposing counsel, unless you have advance permission from the Court or opposing counsel.
23. Learn how to seal or redact filings early. The Seventh Circuit frowns upon sealing court filings unless absolutely necessary. As a result, Northern District judges are particular about filing under seal, as is the Clerk’s office. Some protective orders give you a blanket right to file under seal, but others require specific permission. That permission would ideally be sought in advance of filing, but at least concurrent with the filing. Either way, it is critical to know before the evening of a major filing deadline, when the Clerk’s office may be closed, and you may not have much time to begin with. Additionally, the Seventh Circuit requires that briefs be filed in a redacted form instead of under seal. So, many Northern District judges have the same requirement. Either ask the judge’s chambers or counsel who has experience before the particular judge.
24. Lean on the ECF hotline. I am routinely surprised by how many people never think to call the Clerk’s ECF number for assistance. The Clerk’s staff is uniformly knowledgeable and eager to help. In particular, call them immediately if you made an ECF-based error while filing. The Clerk’s office can almost always fix it, and it is usually easier for everyone if you have not added to the problem by “fixing” it yourself. One note of caution though, as with calling chambers, give the Clerk’s office the courtesy of reviewing the ECF webpage first to make sure they have not already answered your question there.
25. Understand the Court’s pretrial order requirements. More than one Northern District judge will throw out inadequate pre-trial orders. One common flaw to watch for is insufficient statements of fact or conclusions of law. The local, form pre-trial order requires the parties to identify every fact they must prove at trial and every necessary conclusion of law, even for jury trials. This custom differs from some other districts (and not every Northern District judge requires it). Likely because of that and the general pre-trial time crunch, many parties fail to prepare sufficient statements. That can have serious consequences, so start on these early.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Practice Tips Nos. 21-25

This is the fourth installment of my twenty five tips for Northern District of Illinois litigation practice, with a focus on IP litigation (here are the earlier tips: 1-5; 6-10; and 11-15). The tips are gleaned from my practice in the Northern District, my time as a law clerk for the Hon. Gordon J. Quist in the Western District of Michigan, and my reading of all of the Northern District of Illinois intellectual property opinions over the last four years. As you read them, let me know if you come up with others. I will be glad to include them as I go. Here are tips sixteen through twenty:
16. Meet and Confer. Wherever you practice you are likely aware of some version of a Local Rule 37.1 requirement to meet and confer regarding at least discovery motions. Generally, you do not need to meet and confer for dispositive motions, but you must for discovery motions as well as motions for extensions. Most judges will not hear a motion without a meet and confer, and some will deny the motion with prejudice for failing to meet and confer. If you are not sure whether your motion requires a meet and confer, err on the side of having one.
17. Tell the Court about your meet and confer. Do not forget to tell the Court you met and conferred in your motion, and describe the outcome. If you do not, you risk denial of your motion, and always identify agreed or stipulated motions in the title and the docket entry.
18. Use the Online Transcript System. Take advantage of the Northern District’s first-in-the-nation online transcript ordering system. Prior to this system, getting transcripts was difficult, but now getting a hearing transcript is as easy as buying a book on It is a great advantage for litigators preparing motions that relate to prior hearings.
19. Calculate your hearing date. Each judge has a different minimum notice period for motions. Many judges allow notice three business days after filing, but a few only require two and others require four. On a similar note, check the judge’s website for allowable motion call days and times, and any days when the judge will not be hearing motions.
20. Deliver prompt, correct courtesy copies. The Local Rules require delivery of courtesy copies of to the Court within one day of filing. But some judges require same day courtesy copies if at all possible. For those judges, if you cannot deliver same day you should at least deliver early the next morning. Also, make sure you format the copies correctly. For example, most judges require exhibits to be separated by tabs, and some judges require that papers be bound on the left-hand side. And for many judges, you must include copies of any unreported cases cited in your papers.

Continue Reading Northern District of Illinois Practice Tips Nos. 16-20