“If t’were done, t’were best done quickly” – good advice for murderers and attorneys. (Tivo Inc. v. Echostar Corporation et. al.)
Tivo and Echostar were engaged in rancorous patent infringement litigation, resulting in sanctions being imposed by the Court against Echostar. Echostar appealed the trial court’s decision to the C.A.F.C. While the appeal was pending, sanity reasserted itself and the parties reached an agreement. As part of this agreement, the parties filed a joint motion to dismiss the appeal. This much is quite common. A problem arose, however, because the attorneys did not inform the court that they had settled the matter before the appellate court had issued its decision, nor had they informed the appellate court that their agreement was dependent upon the disposition of the matter by the appellate court. At this failure, the appellate judges took umbrage, “[i]t is clear that if the parties had entered into such an agreement before issuance of our decision, it was counsel’s duty to inform this court of their agreement. It is the duty of counsel to bring to the federal tribunal’s attention, without delay, facts that may raise a question of mootness.” (emphasis in the original)
Joint motion DENIED. “[T]he court will not dismiss an appeal after the appeal has been decided.” The appellate court’s decision included a remand to the district court. In an act of undeserved mercy, the appellate judges, nevertheless, advised the parties that they were free to request that the district court “dismiss the complaint and vacate its previously imposed sanctions because they have settled the underlying matter.”
The Lesson To Be Learned – don’t dawdle in a way that would waste a court’s time.