Judge Leonard Davis' portrait viewing and reception will take place Friday morning from 10-12am at the courthouse in Tyler. (No, it's not the watercolor at left - just trying to get readers in the mood).
For those that have not seen it yet, here is a link to KLTV-Tyler's ten-minute special report Wednesday night on the patent docket in East Texas. The text of the story is online, but a link to the video is included as well.
Reporter Taylor Hemness' feature is not your typical 90 second "gee there are lawyers in suits all over the square - wonder why?" story, and includes a lengthy interview with U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis about the docket.
A famous historian once observed of the southern part of the United States that in it the past is not forgotten - in fact it really isn't even past.
Ready to be stickered as an aditional exhibit in support of that proposition is the 20th Annual Sam B. Hall Jr. Lecture and Banquet, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. this evening in the Phillips Great Room on the ground floor of the Bennett Student Commons at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.
The lecture series program commemorates the late congressman and Eastern District of Texas judge Sam B. Hall, Jr., who was a Marshall native and an alumnus of the College of Marshall, which is now ETBU. (He also took in strays as law clerks from time to time, including yours truly, hence his location in my office peering down at me when I'm at my desk. I get in trouble if I'm not watched, so he and Pam are keeping a careful eye out).
Phillip B. Meyer, Houston businessman and ETBU trustee, will speak on his life experiences and growth in faith as a business leader. Currently a partner and vice-president with Oilfield Precision Products, Inc., of Houston, Meyer is the former president of Core International, LLC, and has more than twenty-five years of experience in various facets of the petrochemical industry, including finance, sales, engineering, operations, customer service, and capital equipment sourcing.
The program will also include the announcement of the sixth annual Sam B. Hall Jr. Civic Service Award recipient.
Whatever is Right: Sam B. Hall, Jr., the biography of Judge Hall, will be offered for sale, with proceeds going to benefit the endowment in Judge Hall's name.
Interesting article about the local patent docket by reporter Dylan Baddour in Thursday's Houston Chronicle. The article focused on some of the recent litigation involcing Apple, and has commentary by Prof. Paul Janicke and me on the whys and wherefores of the docket.
Pursuant to his announcement in January 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Schell of Plano took senior status yesterday, following more than 25 years of service on the Eastern District bench, ending the district's brief ten week honeymoon of having all eight judgeships filled.
Judge Schell was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on April 13, 1988, to a seat vacated by the late Judge William M. Steger of Tyler. He was confirmed by the Senate on May 27, 1988, and received his commission on June 6, 1988. Judge Schell served as Chief Judge of the Eastern District from 1994 2001 and also served on the U.S. Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules as well as the Board of the Federal Judges Association. During his tenure as Chief Judge he also supported the effort to create the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association.
A native Texan, Judge Schell was raised in a family whose community involvement in Plano, Texas, stretches back over 130 years. His maternal great-grandfather served as mayor of Plano, and his paternal grandfather was the longest serving mayor in the City's history, serving more than 16 years. His father was the longest appointed official in Plano's history, serving as its representative on the North Texas Municipal Water District for 45 years. (As I have previously posted, there is now an Alex Schell Place between 15th Street and 15th Place commemorating Judge Schell's father, as well as a Schell Elementary School in Plano, Schell Elementary School in Richardson, and a Schimelpfenig [Judge Schell's other grandparents] Middle School and Schimelpfenig Library).
Judge Schell received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southern Methodist University in 1972 and his Juris Doctorate from SMU's School of Law in 1975. He served as an instructor at the Law School from 1975-1976, then became Assistant District Attorney for Collin County in 1976. He practiced law in the private sector in McKinney from 1977-1982, then returned to public service as Judge, Collin County Court-at-Law, from 1982-1986. From 1986-1988 he presided as Judge of Collin County's 219th District Court before assuming the bench as U.S. District Judge. Since 2010 he also has served as a Visiting Professor at SMU's Dedman School of Law, which awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service in 2005. His law clerks and staff have established a programmatic endowment at the law school in his honor.
During his tenure on the bench, Judge Schell presided over the Norplant MDL, numerous complex civil matters and a number of environmental issues, as well as the continued oversight and enforcement of a consent decree that resolved a class action between the State of Texas and children who receive Medicaid benefits. As the resident district judge in Plano with a higher-than-average docket, Judge Schell spent 683 hours in the courtroom in the past year alone. This is 247 percent above the circuit median and 243 percent above the circuit average.
Judge Schell has been universally recognized for his excellent judicial temperament, work ethic, integrity, and fairness, and we are fortunate to have had him on the bench for the past quarter century. We wish he and Janice a long and happy senior judgeship.
Tonight the U.S. Senate confirmed both nominees for vacant Eastern District judgeships, Judge Amos Mazzant of Sherman, and Trey Schroeder of Texarkana. So for the next 90 days the Eastern District will enjoy the rare situation that all eight of its authorized judgeships are now filled.
Congratulations to Judge Mazzant and Judge Schroeder, and thanks to Sens. Cornyn and Cruz and President Obama for getting this done. Now have we mentioned we have two more vacancies coming up in the next six months...
Earlier this year, in "Who're You Calling Plaintiff Friendly?" in Texas Lawyer Jeff Saltman and I analyzed the verdicts in patent cases in 2013 in the Eastern District of Texas. Well, 2014 isn't done with just yet, but I was checking my list and reading it twice in preparation for the holidays, and wanted to pass along what I have found so far for the two years combined.
Taking the two years together, we were tied at ten plaintiff verdicts and ten defense verdicts, with each side also having one win in the two invalidity-only trials, until last week. Uniloc broke the tie in plaintiff's favor, assuming no more verdicts before year's end.
Update: TCU graduates have complained that head to head results do not accurately reflect the outcomes, and the results should be analyzed by strength of cases tried.
CAFC Judge Timothy Dyk is putting up some interesting statistics on reversal rates for the district on the panel that is up right now. He shows the stats for the year thus far as 38% reversal on mandamus - up a bit over the last few years. The district generates about ten percent of the appellate court's district filings, and has a 94% affirmance rate so far - 14 affirmance, one partial and one reversal.
He and Judge Davis just talked about his recent experience trying a case and hearing summary judgment motions in Tyler.
Alan Fisch is talking about the benefit of trying cases before judges that try a lot of civil cases.
Great morning in Sherman watching the federal courthouse be formally renamed for the late U.S. District Judge Paul Brown.
In a sign of the collegiality among the local bench, every sitting and senior district judge and all magistrate judges were present, as well as the chief judge of the Fifth Circuit Judge Carl Stewart.