Judge Denies Motion for Continuance to Party Who Needs New Firm Because Party Anticipates Litigation with Counsel of Record

Two weeks before a patent trial, the patentee says it expects litigation between it and its counsel.  So, it moves for continuance so it can get new lawyers.  Motion denied.  The case is Alexsam, Inc. v. J.C. Penney Company, Inc., et al., Case No. 2:13-cv-5 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 11, 2013), and an article about it is here.

This is awkward, to say the least.  On the one hand, the defendants surely have an interest in getting the case tried, and the court has an interest in managing its docket, but a lawyer who expects to be sued by his client (seemingly the case here) can't represent that client unless he reasonably believes he can do so and he gets the client's informed consent after full disclosure.  The odds of that being done right are slim.  So, where this ends up is the client seemingly not being able to prosecute its case, and so the firm incurring any damages caused by the withdrawal (assuming the client had a reasonable basis, etc.).


About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.