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07.06.2011 Blog

A Stern Admonition from the WD Wisconsin Rocket Docket


Check out this recent docket entry from Magistrate Judge Crocker of the Western District of Wisconsin, in response to the plaintiff's failure to serve its complaint just over three months after filing:

** TEXT ONLY ORDER ** On March 30, plaintiff, a Georgia company, filed a declaratory patent invalidity lawsuit in this court against defendant, a Missouri company. Defendant countered in April by filing a patent infringement lawsuit against plaintiff in Missouri. Since then, the parties have been negotiating a global settlement. Apparently, neither party has served its lawsuit on its opponent believing that this would "chill settlement negotiations." See dkt. 10. Plaintiff has shared this back story to this court in advance of the July 7, 2011 telephonic status conference, at which the court had intended to ask why this lawsuit is slumped inert on the court's docket. Now we know; but as local counsel likely already has predicted, the court is perplexed and unmoved in equal measure: why would a patent litigant seek out this notoriously fast court and then start its case with a stalling maneuver? This court does not grant stays to accommodate settlement negotiations. Because defendant hasn't even appeared yet, the July 7 hearing is pointless, so it is canceled. On July 29, 2011, this lawsuit will be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to F.R. Civ. Pro. 4(m). Further, if this case ever requires a schedule, the calendaring template for patent cases starts running this week, leading to a firm trial date in early October, 2012. This would be true even in the face of dismissal for failure to serve.. Signed by Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker on 7/5/2011. (voc) (Entered: 07/05/2011)

The case is Simmons Bedding Company et al v. Leggett & Platt, Inc et al, No. 3:11-cv-232 (W.D. Wisconsin).