This morning, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential order granting a petition for a writ of mandamus to vacate a district court’s denial of transfer. Here is text from the order.
In re Nitro Fluids L.L.C. (Precedential Order)
Nitro Fluids, L.L.C. petitions for a writ of mandamus directing the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to dismiss this action or transfer it to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Cameron International Corporation opposes the petition. Nitro replies.
The district court may be on stronger footing in concluding that judicial economy might favor keeping the case given that Cameron has a pending action against another defendant involving the same patents asserted here and that there are differences between this case and the Southern District of Texas case. But the district court’s explanation in these respects is cursory. It consists of two sentences, neither of which meaningfully discuss those similarities and differences. The district court merely says that keeping the case “will avoid possibly conflicting claim constructions” between Cameron’s co-pending actions. Appx18. It did not consider the availability of multi-district procedures. See In re EMC Corp., 677 F.3d 1351, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (“Common pretrial issues of claim construction and patent invalidity may also be adjudicated together through the multidistrict litigation procedures of 28 U.S.C. § 1407.”). Nor did it consider whether the aim of the first-to-file rule would be impermissibly thwarted under such a result. Cf. In re Google Inc., No. 2017-107, 2017 WL 977038, at *3 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 23, 2017) (“To hold otherwise, we would be effectively inoculating a plaintiff against convenience transfer under § 1404(a) simply because it filed related suits against multiple defendants in the transferor district.”). Moreover, the differences between this case and the Southern District of Texas case appear to have narrowed since the petition was filed. The court should now consider these issues in its renewed analysis.
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
The petition is granted to the extent that the district court’s June 16, 2020 order is vacated, and the district court is directed to conduct further proceedings consistent with this order.