Too Late Now: No Jurisdiction to Challenge Judge’s Criticisms After Settlement

Author: Christopher B. McKinley
Editor: Kevin D. Rodkey

In Tesco Corp. v. National Oilwell Varco, L.P., No. 15-1041 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 30, 2015), the Federal Circuit held that an intervening settlement agreement prevented attorneys from challenging a judge’s critical remarks as attorney sanctions.

Tesco sued National Oilwell Varco, alleging patent infringement of well-drilling technology. To rebut NOV’s on-sale bar defense during trial, Tesco’s attorneys represented to the court that a poorly-rendered sales brochure “unequivocally” did not show the patented invention. That representation was later discovered to be false. The district court sanctioned Tesco by dismissing its case with prejudice. In the order, it also called Tesco’s attorneys’ conduct “troubling.” Tesco appealed. The parties settled during the appeal and NOV released its claim for attorneys’ fees. Tesco’s attorneys continued to appeal the judge’s order alleging that it amounted to attorney sanctions.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear Tesco’s attorneys’ appeal because it could not redress any injury to the attorneys’ reputations. The Court explained that the settlement agreement ended the dispute and none of the parties had any interest in the underlying order dismissing the case, except for Tesco’s attorneys for reputational reasons. Although it acknowledged that the district court’s statements could cause reputational harm, the Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction because there was “no remaining sanction which could be vacated or punishment imposed upon the Attorneys which could be reversed.”

 

DISCLAIMER: Although we wish to hear from you, information exchanged in this blog cannot and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not post any information that you consider to be personal or confidential. If you wish for Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP to consider representing you, in order to establish an attorney-client relationship you must first enter a written representation agreement with Finnegan. Contact us for additional information. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the possibility of representation with you. Additional disclaimer information.

Tagged ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: