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Monday, August 10, 2015

Ind. Courts - "7th Circuit Apologizes for Misplacing Case for Five Years"

Jacob Gershman has this item Aug. 6th in the WSJ Law Blog. Some quotes:

It was in 2010 when the U.S. Supreme Court asked a panel of judges on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to take another look at claims made by a group of investors against Harris Associates. The justices instructed the lower-court judges to apply a different standard for judging if fees are excessive.

After the parties filed position papers with the appeals court that year, the lawyers waited to hear back from the judges. And they waited and waited.

“After a couple of years, it seemed odd to us,” said James C. Bradley, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “We didn’t know what was causing the delay.”

He said he would periodically check in with the clerk of the Seventh Circuit about the status. “I asked if it had fallen through the cracks and was told no, it hadn’t,” Mr. Bradley told Law Blog. The clerk wasn’t available for comment.

During that period, one of the three judges on the panel, Terence Evans, passed away.

But out of the blue, the case resurfaced Thursday with a ruling in favor of the defendants. The two remaining judges on the panel, Frank Easterbrook and Michael Kanne, concluded their opinion with an apology to the parties.

“[P]apers were placed in the wrong stack and forgotten,” the opinion said. “The court’s internal system for tracking cases under advisement does not include remands from the Supreme Court, so the normal process of alerts and ticklers failed. We will see to it that this is fixed. That may be small comfort to these litigants and their lawyers, but at least some good will come from the delay.”

Mr. Bradley said his clients would weigh their legal options and might ask the full Seventh Circuit to hear the case.

This reminded the ILB of incidents of delays in our Indiana Court of Appeals cases in 2008, discussed in several ILB posts, quoting footnotes from COA opinions:
[W]e have recently become aware of some difficulties in receiving the prompt transmission of fully-briefed appeals to our court. Indeed, the case herein was fully briefed on June 21, 2007, but was not transferred to our court until February 26, 2008—a delay of over eight months.
Nothing approaching five years, however!

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 10, 2015 09:13 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts