Today's Marshall News Messenger carries an above the fold article "Attorneys: "Judicial Hellhole" Report Far from True" by local reporter Robin Richardson. The article responds to a recently released "Judicial Hellholes" report published annually by the American Tort Reform Association which claims that the Eastern District of Texas has become a popular patent troll venue, mainly because - wait for it - "it's juries are perceived to be "plaintiff – friendly"". (Ba-da-bing!)
Robin polls four lawyers, including me, to report that that claim was described variously as absurd (by Carl Roth) hysterical (by me) and and ridiculous (by Sam Baxter). (Showing better judgment, Gil Gillam just talked about how hard-working our judges are). The article is actually a really a good collection of analysis from experienced local attorneys on the docket, uniformly stating based on one hell of a lot of experience that the local juries are eminently fair and evenhanded. Again, the article says it far better than I have any interest in doing on a Friday afternoon, so I commend it to you.
Making the timing even funnier was the jury verdict that just came in a few moments ago from across the square in Judge Gilstrap's court, where in what is likely the last patent trial of the year plaintiff Cassidian Communications Inc. lost a infringement case against defendant microDATA. The jury found none of the four claims infringed, that neither the defendants infringed any of the 10 claims asserted to have been infringed indirectly - and here's the funny part (unless you're the plaintiff, of course) - all ten claims were shown to be invalid. Yeah, judicial hellhole, right. Pull this leg and it plays Jingle Bells.
That's four plaintiff verdicts in fifteen infringement trials this year - two of five in Tyler and two of ten in Marshall. I'm still not saying it's a trend - next year it may flip the other way, and statistically speaking, that's likely - but if I were a member of the ATRA I'd sure be asking for my money back from whoever wrote that piece of junk about the federal courts of the Eastern District of Texas.
Merry Christmas everybody - have a great holiday season and if I don't post before then, a happy New Years. Sic 'em Bears!