New Standing Orders – Notice of Readiness & Discovery Hearings

Amended Standing Order for Notice of Readiness:

Yesterday Judge Albright released an amended standing order concerning the Case Readiness Status Report (“CRSR”), which informs the Court that a case is ready for a Case Management Conference (“CMC”). Under the previous standing order, parties were required to wait forthe Court to issue a CMC date, which in turn triggers various default scheduling dates in the Court’s Order Governing Proceedings (“OGP”). However, the new order removes any “waiting” and instead, automatically sets the CMC date. 

Here are the highlights:

  • The Court provides guidance on when the Plaintiff is to file the CRSR in a multi-defendant case. “The parties are to file within 7 days after the defendant (or at least one defendant among a group of related defendants sued together) has responded to the complaint.”
  • However, the above rule clarifies that there must be no “CRSR Related Cases”, which the Court in turn defines:
    • “for purposes of this Order, cases shall be considered CRSR Related Cases when: (1) they are filed within thirty (30) days after the first case is filed, and (2) they share at least one common asserted patent.”
    • If CRSR Related Cases exist, then the plaintiff is directed to file the CRSR no later than “seven (7) days after the last defendant … among the CRSR Related Cases has responded to the initial pleadings.”
  • If parties have a pre-Markman issue in need of resolution, the parties are to email the Court a joint submission of the parties’ respective positions after filing the CRSR. 
  • Likely the biggest change relative to prior practices is that “Once the CRSR has been filed, the CMC shall be deemed to occur 14 days afer the filing date of the CRSR.” (Or in the case of CRSR Related Cases for which the CRSRs were not all filed simultaneously, 14 days after the filing date of the last such CRSR.) In other words, a case’s OGP deadlines are now more automatic than before, and no action by the Court is needed to set the schedule in motion.
  • Markman hearings are to be scheduled 23 weeks after the CMC, with the other dates outlined by the OGP. 
  • Finally, if parties in a particular case have already filed their CRSR, the CMC will be deemed to occur 14 days after the entry of the amended standing order. 

Standing Order for Discovery Hearings in Patent Cases:

Today the Court released a standing order concerning discovery hearings. The order states that “the prevailing party in any discovery hearing shall submit a proposed order to the Court that briefly summarizes the nature of the dispute along with the parties’ understanding of the Court’s ruling.” The proposed order must be jointly submitted no later than 7 days after the discovery hearing. 

This practice, although perhaps slightly unusual in federal court, is quite common in Texas state courts, and dovetails well with Judge Albright’s overall desire to keep cases moving forward as efficiently as possible.