Phoenix Licensing v. Nationwide, et al., 2:12cv208 (1/30/13)
Judge: Roy S. Payne
Holding: Emergency Motion for Continuance GRANTED; Agreed Motion to Cancel Venue Hearing DENIED;
Twice in recent weeks (In re Fusion-io on 12/21/; In re EMC II yesterday) the Federal Circuit, while denying petitions for writs of mandamus, has noted the importance it attaches to addressing motions to transfer in a timely fashion.
In this case, the Court set a hearing on defendant Traveler's motion to transfer venue in this case on January 10 for January 24, with the now-customary language regarding making witnesses to be called at the hearing available for deposition beforehand. (The two weeks notice is also consistent with recent practice - the court issued an order in the first such hearing on 1/4 for a hearing on 1/18). If prior practice holds true, the court would rule on the motion at the conclusion of the hearing, rather than taking additional time to draft a written opinion, thus expediting resolution of the motion, consistent with the Federal Circuit's statement in In re EMC II yesterday quoting the Fifth Circuit that disposition of the motion should take "top priority" in the handling of the case.
However, a week after the court set the hearing, on 1/18 the Defendant Travelers and the plaintiff filed a joint motion to reset the hearing due to scheduling conflicts for a key witness, and three days later on 1/21, three days before the scheduled hearing, an unopposed motion to cancel the hearing on its motion completely, and extend the briefing schedule to permit the surreply brief to be filed 2/8 and an additional brief (which requires leave of court) on 2/22.
This morning the former was granted and the hearing reset to the date requested by the parties (the prior hearing had already been vacated several days ago), but the latter was denied.
Updated: this afternoon the hearing was vacated and Judge Payne granted the motion to transfer.