In an opinion today, Judge Cote granted Tory Burch summary judgment in a case concerning knock-off merchandise.  The motion was deemed unopposed based the defendants’ misconduct, including spoliation and fabrication of evidence.  In a particularly notable passage, the opinion discloses that the Court ordered a forensic examination of the defendants’ opposition papers, and, from that examination, determined that those papers were served too late:
Continue Reading Judge Cote Employs Forensic Examination to Determine Brief Was Served Too Late

In an opinion yesterday, Magistrate Judge Ellis sanctioned The Money Store and other related defendants for failing to preserve evidence held by a third party vendor, Fidelity National Foreclosure Solutions. The underlying class action accuses the defendants of improper debt collection practices relating to mortgage loans, and the plaintiff argued that evidence from a database created by Fidelity (referred to as the “New Invoice System”) was improperly lost. Calling to mind a similar opinion from Magistrate Judge Mass two years ago (see this post), Judge Ellis found that, since the defendants has the legal right and practical ability to direct Fidelity to preserve evidence, they were required to do so:
Continue Reading Judge Ellis Sanctions Party for Failing to Preserve Evidence Held by Nonparty Vendor

In an opinion today, Judge Cote determined to sanction, in an amount to be determined later, a law firm that brought a class action alleging that AOL repurchased its stock at artificially depressed prices because it knew that it would later sell a portfolio of patents to Microsoft for over $1 billion, thereby boosting AOL’s stock price.  The patents were sold at an auction, but the plaintiffs alleged that the auction was essentially a sham because Microsoft was the predetermined winner.  A critical allegation in the complaint was that AOL’s Tim Armstrong called Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer long before the auction to “close the deal.”  Judge Cote found the allegation entirely unsupported and rejected counsel’s attempt to minimize it:
Continue Reading Judge Cote Sanctions Class Action Law Firm for Unsupported Allegations Against AOL