“Deep in the heart of [EAST] Texas . . .”

The In re Volkswagen case is an important case recently decided en banc by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Essentially, this case gives some guidance to the federal judges in the Eastern District of Texas (as well as the other districts of the Fifth Circuit) as to when it is proper to transfer a case to another district court.   The case concerned a lawsuit that was initially before Judge Ward of the Eastern District of Texas.  Judge Ward is well-known among patent litigators as one of the judges in the Eastern District of Texas who enjoys hearing patent cases.    He is also one of the reasons that the Eastern District of Texas has seen so many patent cases filed there in recent years.  And, he recently sat by designation at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

During oral argument, the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit did comment about Judge Ward’s consistency in assessing the impact of travel time to the “deep heart of East Texas.” [Listen]

The full oral argument can be heard here: [Listen]  One interesting thing to take note of  when listening to this oral argument at the Fifth Circuit is that counsel is entitled to reserve time to make uninterrupted remarks.  After that time period, the judges may ask their questions.  This custom does not appear to be followed by the Federal Circuit where judges can begin asking their questions right out of the gate.

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