Wednesday, August 04, 2021

LG loses interlocutory appeal argument

The outcome

LG Electronics Inc. and LG Electronics USA, Inc. seek interlocutory review of a decision of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denying LG certain relief with respect to the liability portion of this case. Because LG’s notice of appeal was not filed within thirty days of the date at which the liability issues became final except for an accounting, LG’s appeal is untimely. We dismiss the matter for lack of jurisdiction

The issue

Following the April Order, on May 8, 2020, LG filed notice of this interlocutory appeal. LG seeks to challenge the district court’s decision denying LG’s post-trial motions regarding infringement, invalidity, and willfulness (all of which were decided in the September Order). LG also challenges the district court’s pretrial decision to allow the joinder of Hitachi and argues that, without such joinder, Limited lacks statutory authority to bring suit. After LG filed its notice of appeal, Mondis moved to dismiss the appeal as untimely, arguing that LG needed to file notice of appeal within thirty days of the September Order. We ordered the parties to address jurisdiction in the merits briefing

Budinich v. Becton Dickinson & Co., 486 U.S. 196 (1988) is referenced, and analogized:

Within thirty days of the final order, the petitioner filed notice of appeal covering all the district court’s post-trial orders. Id. The petitioner argued that such an appeal was timely with respect to the merits, relying on a provision of Colorado state law which instructed that a claim was not final and appealable until attorney’s fees had been determined. Id. The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that federal law governed under the Supremacy Clause, and that under federal law, the merits decision was final after the first post-trial order that resolved all issues except for attorney’s fees. Id. at 200 (“[W]e think it indisputable that a claim for attorney’s fees is not part of the merits of the action to which the fees pertain . . . .”). Similarly, here the district court’s decision was final as to liability at the time of the September Order that resolved all liability issues. Just as the outstanding matter of attorney’s fees could not toll the time for appeal in Budinich, the outstanding damages determination cannot toll the time for LG to appeal here.

Of note is the text:

LG’s timeliness arguments focus on the Federal Rules, rather than the statutory requirements for jurisdiction. As an initial matter, the Rules cannot override federal statute any more than state law could do so in Budinich, and to the extent that there is any conflict between the Rules and federal statutes, the statutes must prevail. See Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 214 (2007) (“[The Supreme Court] has no authority to create equitable exceptions to jurisdictional requirements . . . .”). But we do not read any conflict between the Rules and the statutory requirements of appeal and conclude that, read together, the statutes and the Rules bar this interlocutory appeal.

Footnote 1 references the oral record:

However, when asked at oral argument, LG’s attorney appeared to agree that the September Order was being challenged. See Oral Arg. at 0:35–0:48, 1812 05062021.mp3 (Q: “What is the interlocutory order that you’re challenging?” A: “We’re challenging the liability order—the September 2019 liability order.”)

Note that this case was about "when" LG could appeal, not "whether" it could appeal:

As a final matter, we note that interlocutory appeals are voluntary, and LG is not precluded from challenging the liability determinations of the district court under our § 1295 jurisdiction once the damages determination is completed. Mondis admits as much. See Appellee’s Br. at 19 n.1 (“LG will eventually have a right to appeal the liability judgment.”). For the purposes of this interlocutory appeal, however, LG has missed the statutory deadline and is untimely. We therefore dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.


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