This morning the Federal Circuit released a nonprecedential opinion in a government contract case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. The Federal Circuit also released two nonprecedential orders. One of the orders denies a petition for a writ of mandamus that sought to order the Western District of Texas to transfer a case to the Northern District of California. The other order dismisses an appeal. Here is the introduction to the opinion, text from the order denying the petition, and a link to the dismissal.
Intelligent Investments, Inc. v. United States (Nonprecedential)
In 2011, the government contracted with Intelligent Investments, Inc. to clear debris generated by a tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. After the government terminated the contract for convenience, Intelligent Investments sued the United States in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court), seeking payments sometimes available to a contractor after a termination for convenience. During discovery, Intelligent Investments obtained several unopposed extensions of deadlines. Eventually, after not receiving responses to some of its discovery requests, the government moved to dismiss the case, but the Claims Court denied the motion and instead instructed Intelligent Investments to respond to the government’s requests by a specified date. On the due date, Intelligent Investments sought additional time to respond, and four days later, it responded to the government’s requests. At a status conference, the government argued that the responses to seven document requests were insufficient, and the Claims Court directed Intelligent Investments to search for and to produce any documents responsive to those requests by May 15, 2021.
Intelligent Investments missed the deadline, but five days later, it told the government that its principal officer was in the hospital and could not assist in document review. Twelve days later, the parties informed the Claims Court of this development in a joint status report. Nine days after that filing, on June 10, 2021, Intelligent Investments moved for a sixty-day stay—relying on its principal officer’s mental-health and other medical conditions, an urgent emergency room visit around May 15, and a statement from the officer’s psychologist, and seeking more time to obtain more medical information. J.A. 153–57. The government did not file an opposition.
On June 22, 2021, the Claims Court denied Intelligent Investments’s stay request and sua sponte dismissed the case with prejudice, pointing to Intelligent Investments’s noncompliance with three discovery orders. J.A. 1–6. In light of the medical reasons advanced by Intelligent Investments, we conclude that the Claims Court abused its discretion by dismissing the case without finding that the noncompliance was willful or in bad faith and without further inquiry into the asserted medical reasons. We therefore vacate the Claims Court’s judgment of dismissal.
In re Cloudflare, Inc. (Nonprecedential Order)
Cloudflare, Inc. petitions for a writ of mandamus directing the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer this patent infringement case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Sable Networks, Inc. and Sable IP, LLC (collectively, “Sable”) oppose the petition.
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We see no clear abuse of discretion in the court’s denial of transfer. The district court explained that the Western District of Texas, a district in which Cloudflare itself stated that its employees helped research, design, develop, implement, test, and market the accused products, had a localized interest and would be convenient for potential sources of proof and party witnesses. The court further explained that Mr. Lalkaka, who Cloudflare relied on in identifying which of its employees are potential witnesses, had failed to adequately investigate the responsibilities and duties of its employees in Austin, admitted that he did not look into whether there are engineers in Austin that worked on the accused products, and had been unable to explain what criteria he used to determine how certain employees, largely residing in the transferee forum, were subject matter experts, while other employees in Austin were not. Appx13– 14. Mindful of the standard of review, we are not prepared to disturb these findings, which plausibly support the conclusion that Cloudflare failed to show that the transferee forum was clearly more convenient.
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
The petition is denied.