Joseph J. Farnan: Subpoena Dispute Leads to Ethics Hearing

District of Delaware Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. recently weighed in on a patent-related document subpoena dispute, touching on professional conduct in so-called “rocket docket” litigation. By ordering an evidentiary hearing, the Court reminded the parties (and the reader) of its inherent supervisory power over litigants:

In the Court’s experience, lawyering in fast paced, high stakes litigation can sometimes wander from the professional standards expected. . . . In order to resolve the legal issues presented by the petition and the professional issues presented by the briefing, the Court will conduct an evidentiary hearing.

To reinforce its point, the Court ordered that even if the “subpoena issues are fully resolved, the hearing must still go forward to resolve the professional issues.” Patent litigators take note: in this district, allegations of unprofessionalism will be fully vetted.


Digacomm LLC v. Vehicle Safety & Compliance LLC, C.A. No. 08-MC-063-JJF (D. Del. April 29, 2008) (Farnan, J.)
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