Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Marginally Vexatious Litigation Tactics" do not Warrant a $13.3 Million Attorneys' Fees Award

Plaintiffs' motion for a finding of exceptional case and an award of attorneys' fees for $13.3 million was denied. "Reviewing the entire record, including discovery spanning five years, [defendant] did employ some marginally vexatious litigation tactics. However, as Magistrate Judge Peebles noted, discovery was 'contentious and hard fought' by both sides. At the close of discovery, he concluded that 'the playing field has been leveled' when he denied [plaintiff's] request for sanctions. . . . Litigation by its nature is adversarial. Clients seek, and, in fact, deserve zealous advocacy. [T]his court finds that actions of [defendant's] counsel did not stretch beyond the bounds of civility. This court holds all counsel involved in this litigation in high regard with respect to their advocacy and timely assistance to the court. Moreover, the parties did not violate the court’s orders during trial."

Cornell University v. Hewlett Packard Co., 5-01-cv-01974
(NYND May 15, 2009, Memorandum, Decision & Order)
(Rader, J.)

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