Blawgletter toils on cases all across this, the greatest nation on the face of the, Earth. Some of them pend in, federal courts. ,Many, of those involve things that, took place in towns far from the court, house where we'll try the lawsuit,,. And ergo we, often find ourselves, — , , , — or our dear foes, taking proof from strangers who live, in other ,Districts, even (verily,) in ,,other Circuit,s. ,!
[We now return to normal comma usage.]
We know that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure say how to ask for the proof in distant locales. They also tell what to do to resist. The seeker gets the power to chase the proof by using the nearest federal court to issue subpoenas and orders. The opposer gets extra options and thus can express her/its/his thoughts about the request for info either to the local judge or to the remote one who presides over the main dispute between the parties.
We mention all this because the Fourth Circuit yesterday grappled with the mischief that can depend from letting two Article III judges vie for top dog status in a multi-District, multi-Circuit fight over a subpoena.
The case doesn't shed a whole lot of light but does manage to point out that the rules seem to Their Honors quite supple to the touch and oh-so-smart to the brain. The court thus upholds both district judges' rulings — one in the Bay State (First Circuit) and the other in the Old Line State (Fourth) — on whether a men's clothing maker's secret critic could keep her/its/his name out of the lawsuit. She/it/he couldn't, they said — at least not all the way. Yet we still don't know her/its/his moniker. Lefkoe v. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc., No. 08-2059 (4th Cir. Aug. 13, 2009).
You'll note that all went well because Judge A made a ruling but then said Judge B could change or update it as Judge B saw fit. Which foresight and kindness avoided an inter-Circuit tussle.