All of this is based upon the oral argument from Tuesday.
Represented by Sidley, AT&T loses $40m verdict at trial. The parties file post trial motions. Sometime later, 18 lawyers at Sidley and its local counsel received notice that the district court had entered several orders. Many were sealing and other administrative orders. One was the denial of AT&T’s motion for judgment as a matter of law notwithstanding the jury’s $40m verdict against it.
No one read the orders — though apparently some folks billed as much as .25 an hour to reading the email — until about two months later, which was long past the deadline for appealing. The district court denied relief to AT&T, basically saying that the text of a docket entry isn’t what matters; it’s the order, and lawyers have a duty to read every order. (That’s the gist.)
The appeal in Two-Way Media LLC v. AT&T was heard yesterday at the CAFC. The oral argument is here. It’s a fascinating listen: two former trial judges (O’Malley and Wallach) were not sympathetic, at all, to Sidley’s position; Judge Dyk seemed to be bending over backwards to try to get one of those two to join him in granting some form of relief.
Stay tuned…. I’m guessing there will be either a rule 36 affirmance or a 2-1 decision with Dyk dissenting.