April 13, 2004

Indiana Decisions - Plaintiff's attorneys chastised by federal court magistrate judge

Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker of the S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division, has posted online an opinion signed 4/8/04 in the case of IP Innovation v. Thomson Inc. Some quotes:

Before resolving these motions, however, the Court feels compelled to address a tone of incivility in Plaintiffs’ submissions. For example, Plaintiffs accuse the Defendant of making intentional misrepresentations in its filings, of ignoring and overlooking facts, and of engaging in “subterfuge.” Plaintiffs assert that Defendant’s response “ignores key facts and distorts many others in an effort to dissemble and confuse the actual record.” Plaintiffs contend that Defendant makes “unsupported,” “unfounded,” and “manufacture[d]” claims. Plaintiffs even go so far as to assert that defense counsel “knows, for a fact, that the claims he makes in defendant’s responding papers are incorrect.” These barbs are, unfortunately, merely a few of the accusations Plaintiffs fling Defendant’s way. * * *

Plaintiffs’ briefs contain additional accusations of this nature, but the foregoing examples suffice to demonstrate the incivility of Plaintiffs’ submissions. Accusations such as these are no trifling matter. If Plaintiffs’ contentions were true, Defendant could be in violation of a number of the Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rule 3.1 (Meritorious Claims and Contentions), Rule 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), Rule 3.3 (Candor Toward the Tribunal), and Rule 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel). Yet as set forth below, the Court has sided with Defendant’s positions on every substantive issue. As a result, Plaintiffs’ attacks are not only improper, they are wholly unfounded. * * *

In accord with the foregoing authorities [the Court here has first presented an entire page of authority], the undersigned expects civility and professionalism from the attorneys litigating cases before this Court. As a reminder to all attorneys of their duties in this regard, the Court will publish this opinion on its website with the expectation that it will be adhered to by members of the bar in the future. Otherwise, as Judge Williams stated in [IJR, Inc. v. Sodick, Inc., 1987 WL 26105, at *1 (N.D. Ill. 1987)], in the future “this court will not hesitate to use the powers available to it to ensure that counsel treat each other with the level of respect expected from anyone admitted to the bar.” [emphasis added]

Thanks to Ed Feigenbaum of Indiana Daily Insight for the "heads up."

Posted by Marcia Oddi at April 13, 2004 08:34 PM