Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Federal Circuit Applies Seventh Circuit Rule to Order Reassignment of Case to New Judge on Remand

Yesterday, in Eolas Technologies, Inc., et al. v. Microsoft Corp., 06-1238, the Federal Circuit issued an opinion in which they applied a Seventh Circuit local rule to order the reassignment of a case to a new district judge on remand. Here's an excerpt:

On remand from an earlier decision of this court, Eolas Techs. Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 399 F.3d 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (Eolas I), the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Microsoft Corporation’s (Microsoft’s) motion seeking to have the case reassigned to a different judge. Eolas Techs. Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 99 C 0626 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 26, 2005) (opinion and order denying motion to reassign) (Denial Order). Microsoft petitioned this court for permission to appeal the district court’s denial. This court granted that petition. Eolas Techs. Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., Misc. No. 811, slip op. (Fed. Cir. Jan. 18, 2006). Because this court defers to the law of the regional circuit on the issue of reassignment and Seventh Circuit Rule 36 requires reassignment, this court reverses the district court’s denial of Microsoft’s motion to reassign the case.

The Rule in question provides:

Whenever a case tried in a district court is remanded by this court for a new trial, it shall be reassigned by the district court for trial before a judge other than the judge who heard the prior trial unless the remand order directs or all parties request that the same judge retry the case. In appeals which are not subject to this rule by its terms, this court may nevertheless direct in its opinion or order that this rule shall apply on remand.

7th Cir. R. 36.


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