We round up the most significant appellate decisions relevant to commercial litigation each week.

Note for readers

Because my practice focuses on complex commercial disputes–especially ones involving antitrust, energy, or intellectual property–I keep daily track of important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest appeals courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

You can follow along during the week on Twitter (@contingencyblog) or here at The Contingency each Monday with this Commercial Appeals Roundup.
Continue Reading Commercial Appeals Roundup

We round up the most significant appellate decisions relevant to commercial litigation each week.

The output of U.S. Courts of Appeals slowed over the summer; the highest courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas went on partial hiatuses; and having finished its 2019-20 Term in June, the U.S. Supreme Court won’t restart its assembly line until October 5. Yet we have a backlog of rulings to report. The 25 blurbs-plus-links below the jump will catch you up on the decisions most likely to affect your commercial litigation practice. Have a great week. Continue Reading Commercial Appeals Roundup

We round up the most significant appellate decisions relevant to commercial litigation each week.

The summer doldrums have slowed but not halted the flow of rulings by the U.S. Courts of Appeals, but you can’t say the same about the highest courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

Despite the more languid pace of federal-court opinions, we have a cornucopia of them–28 in all. I’m happy to say the backlog is a result of having quite a lot to do in my day job at Susman Godfrey.

The state-court pipelines have paused their deliveries since July 31 (in Delaware), July 17 (Texas), and June 29 (New York)–yielding just one opinion (on a rare instance of declining to order a shareholder meeting to elect directors).

Below the jump you’ll find the latest roundup of blurbs-with-links.
Continue Reading Commercial Appeals Roundup

We round up the most significant appellate decisions relevant to commercial litigation each week.

Judgment in German action didn’t bar claim that defendant could (but didn’t have to) bring as counterclaim.

Loan contract that limited arbitration to claims under tribal law violated public policy.

Amount in controversy for purposes of removal under CAFA includes “reasonably possible” punitive damages.

Network monitor patent did more than embody abstract idea under Alice.

Researchers qualified as inventors of patents on cancer-targeting antibodies.

Claim that offshore drilling contract resulted from bribery didn’t defeat $622 million arbitration award for its breach.

Fair value of firm could equal value of its stock.

FAA exempts contracts with international transport workers who don’t cross any state line.

ERISA doesn’t preempt contract claims for insurer’s breach of promise to pay out of network charges.

Making twin of U.S. pizza joint in Scotland didn’t violate U.S. copyright or trademark law.

Note for readers

Because my practice focuses on complex commercial disputes–especially antitrust, energy, and intellectual property–I keep daily track of important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest appeals courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

You can follow along during the week on Twitter (@contingencyblog) or here at The Contingency each Monday with this Commercial Appeals Roundup.

Check out my profile on the Susman Godfrey website.

Steve Susman–my friend and mentor and my firm’s founding partner–died yesterday. A great many people who knew or knew of Steve have sent condolences, which I appreciate very much. I am very sad but also very grateful.

For those of you who hadn’t heard or want to know more, below is a statement that the partners issued this morning.

Be well.

Steve Susman, 1941-2020

With extraordinary sadness, the partners of Susman Godfrey LLP announce the death of our beloved founder, colleague and friend Stephen D. Susman.  Steve died in Houston on July 14 from complications of a bicycle accident in April.

Steve was our leader.   The firm was always his vision.  He loved the law firm, and loved us, and it was mutual.  Steve was passionate about the law and justice.  He spent his entire life thinking and talking about, and working for, ways to improve the system of civil justice in America.

Steve changed the nature of law practice forever.  Long before the profession gave serious thought to basing a complex commercial litigation practice on contingent fees and other arrangements that rewarded success rather than the number of hours billed, Steve championed this and built a firm around his idea.  Hundreds of other firms have followed that model, but Steve pioneered it and proved, spectacularly, that it could work.

Steve also changed the way cases get litigated.  He urged lawyers to avoid excessive discovery and pretrial disputes, and instead focus on trial.  He taught Susman Godfrey lawyers and many other lawyers around the country that being fierce advocates does not preclude treating one’s adversaries with honesty, professionalism, and respect.

To decades of lawyers at Susman Godfrey, Steve was not just our founder and leader, but our mentor and friend.  He was as eager to work on cases with and spend leisure time with the firm’s newest associates as with his most senior colleagues.  Many of the older Susman Godfrey lawyers referred to him as “Dad” and it was more-than-half serious.  Steve played a fatherly role at the firm, even if he was a father whose words of wisdom were liberally sprinkled with F-bombs, dares, and raucous laughter. Through the power of his personality and intellect he imparted to generations of Susman Godfrey lawyers his dedication to hard work, intellectual rigor, zealous but honest advocacy, candor in dealing with clients and courts, entrepreneurial inventiveness, devotion to the legal system, and social consciousness.

We all knew that the Steve Susman era would end at some point, but that did not stop us from hoping in our hearts that he would be with us at Susman Godfrey forever.  When he flirted with retirement two years ago, the partnership responded by unanimously adopting a policy of mandatory retirement at age 100.

Our hearts go out to Steve’s wife Ellen, his son Harry and wife Karen, his daughter Stacy and husband Tom, his step-daughter Whitney and husband Matt, his step-daughter Amanda and husband Matt, his brother Tommy and wife Susan, his eight grandchildren, and his entire law firm family.

We will miss Steve tremendously as we carry on his legacy, practicing law the way Steve taught us, honoring the values he imparted, treasuring the extraordinary camaraderie that he built. It is no surprise that when Steve was injured bicycling in April, he was with lawyers from his firm, young and old, moving forward, having fun, in the lead, pedaling as fast as he could.

We round up the most significant appellate decisions relevant to commercial litigation each week.

Beating a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment doesn’t count as success on merits.

Sports shoe making design patent wasn’t obvious.

Light up shoe design patent was obvious.

Congress gave chief of CFSB too much independence.

Fiduciary shield doctrine crumples.

Tacking .com to end of generic word or phrase may create protectable copyright.

Arthritis patent beats double-patenting, insufficient description, and obviousness attacks.

Exceptional case determination needed to address patent plaintiff’s practice of seeking nuisance-value settlements.

Claim of oral side deal breached warranties in APA, barring claim and triggering indemnification.

Salt supply agreement lacked promise to buy only from seller, therefore didn’t constitute requirements contract.

Copyright law didn’t preempt unjust enrichment claim, but win on copyright claim entitled defendant to fees.

Lack of link to factual nucleus underlying federal law claim deprived court of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claim.

Debtors who didn’t fall for misleading debt-collection letter lacked standing to sue.

Letter giving notice of intent to start marketing competing drug satisfied statute.

Free pass for robocalls to collect federal debts failed strict scrutiny test under first amendment.

Past buyers of pasta couldn’t bring class action to enjoin future sales.

Statute doesn’t allow federal courts to order discovery in aid of private arbitration outside U.S.

PTAB shouldn’t have deemed invention “not unpatentable” without ruling on its obviousness in IPR.

Judgment in German action didn’t bar claim that defendant could (but didn’t have to) bring as counterclaim.

Note for readers

Because my practice focuses on complex commercial disputes–especially antitrust, energy, and intellectual property–I keep daily track of important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest appeals courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

You can follow along during the week on Twitter (@contingencyblog) or here at The Contingency each Monday with this Commercial Appeals Roundup.

Check out my profile on the Susman Godfrey website.

Contempt action for violation of bankruptcy discharge order belonged in court despite arbitration clause. ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isys

DACA survives. supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf

Lawyer who won judgment on Argentine bonds had lien on proceeds of settlement he didn’t participate in and could sue Argentina under commercial activity exception to FSIA. ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isys

Arbitration clause required that arbitrator arbitrate arbitrability. opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/2

Monopolization claim against giant in niche packaging market didn’t state viable patent fraud, sham litigation, or bundling predicates. ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/20/06/1

Class false advertising claim didn’t qualify for restitution due to availability of damages as legal remedy. cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opin

Experts and part owner of partnership failed to support opinions on loss-in-value trade-secret damages. txcourts.gov/media/1447776/

Bank’s proxy statement may have misled shareholders about regulatory risks its practices posed to merger. www2.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/17369

Shift in focus didn’t sidestep with-prejudice dismissal’s preclusive effects on later patent infringement claims. cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/

SEC’s power to get “equitable relief” includes disgorgement but only to extent of wrongdoer’s net profits and only to benefit victims. supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf

Qui tam claim for fraud beats officials’ immunity defense. ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/18157

Bankruptcy plan can estimate how long it will last. cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opin

Third-party counterclaim defendants have no right to remove a case from state court. media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/f

Breach of duty to disclose claim against director requires proof of reliance, causation, and damages. courts.delaware.gov/Opinions/Downl

Refund of improper charge didn’t defeat Article III standing. cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opin

SEC didn‘t have to impose fiduciary duty on broker-dealers. ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isys

Russian operator of websites that enabled users to rip audio files may have to defend against music owners’ copyright claims in Virginia. ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/19112

Class of life insurance owners can keep $34 million verdict for improper “cost of insurance” fees that State Farm added to premiums. ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/20/06/1

Airplane bathroom patent on space-saving design was obvious. cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/

Skipping interlocutory appeal didn’t forfeit appeal from final judgment. txcourts.gov/media/1448051/

Business that alleged defamation had only a business disparagement claim. txcourts.gov/media/1448050/

Note for readers

Because my practice focuses on complex commercial disputes–especially antitrust, energy, and intellectual property–I keep daily track of important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest appeals courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

You can follow along during the week on Twitter (@contingencyblog) or here at The Contingency each Monday with this Commercial Appeals Roundup.

Check out my profile on the Susman Godfrey website.

Note for readers

Because my practice focuses on complex commercial disputes–especially antitrust, energy, and intellectual property–I keep daily track of important decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest appeals courts in Delaware, New York, and Texas.

You can follow along during the week on Twitter (@contingencyblog) or here at The Contingency each Monday with this Commercial Appeals Roundup.

Check out my profile on the Susman Godfrey website.