Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Escape from ED Texas: Microsoft wins mandamus/§ 1404(a) action

The CAFC noted:

Although a trial court has great discretion in
these matters, we have applied Fifth Circuit law in cases
arising from district courts in that circuit to hold that man-
damus may issue when the trial court’s application of those
factors amounts to a clear abuse of discretion. See, e.g., In re
Nintendo Co., 589 F.3d 1194 (Fed. Cir. 2009); In re Hoff-
mann-La Roche Inc., 587 F.3d 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2009); In re
Genentech, Inc., 566 F.3d 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2009); In re TS
Tech USA Corp., 551 F.3d 1315 (Fed. Cir. 2008).

The CAFC punchline was that manipulation was not going
to work:

Allvoice nevertheless urges that this case is distinguish-
able from Genentech. Allvoice contends that unlike the
plaintiff in that case, it has an established presence in the
Eastern District of Texas. Allvoice’s argument, however,
rests on a fallacious assumption: that this court must honor
connections to a preferred forum made in anticipation of
litigation and for the likely purpose of making that forum
appear convenient.

The Supreme Court has long urged courts to ensure that
the purposes of jurisdictional and venue laws are not frus-
trated by a party’s attempt at manipulation. Thus, in Miller
& Lux, Inc. v. East Side Canal & Irrigation Co., 211 U.S.
293 (1908), the Supreme Court held that a corporation could
not create federal diversity jurisdiction by merely assigning
its claim to an otherwise fictitious subsidiary for just that
purpose. See also Lehigh Min. & Mfg. Co. v. Kelly, 160 U.S.
327 (1895) (same); see also Morris v. Gilmer, 129 U.S. 315,
328 (1889) (“Upon the evidence in this record, we cannot
resist the conviction that the plaintiff had no purpose to
acquire a domicile or settled home in Tennessee and that his
sole object in removing to that state was to place himself in a
situation to invoke the jurisdiction of the circuit court of the
United States.”).


Blogger Unknown said...

I can't remember the last time I saw so many mandamuses over such a short period of time. The only one where they didn't find an abuse of discretion seems to be the case where the court was familiar with the patent from prior litigation.

Between cases like this, and this year's retirement of Judge Ward, East Texas filings will slow down and the "rocket docket" will set up shop somewhere else ...

7:46 AM  

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