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District Court Denies Motion for Summary Judgment for Failure to Meet and Confer Prior to Filing Motion

In this patent infringement action, the City of Hope filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court denied the motion without prejudice for failing to comply with the Local Rules meet and confer requirement.

Central District Local Rule 7-3 provides that “counsel contemplating the filing of any motion shall first contact opposing counsel to discuss thoroughly, preferably in person, the substance of the contemplated motion and any potential resolution” at least seven days before filing a motion. C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-3. “The purpose of Local Rule 7-3 is to help parties reach a resolution which eliminates the necessity for a hearing,” which “further[s] judicial economy and the administration of justice.” James R. Glidewell Dental Ceramics, Inc. v. Phila. Indem. Ins. Co., No. 8:16-cv-01155-JLS-E, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189416, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 12, 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted); accord Caldera v. J.M. Smucker Co., No. CV 12-4936-GHK (VBKx), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183977, at *2 (C.D. Cal. June 3, 2013) (noting that the rule “enables the parties to brief the remaining disputes in a thoughtful, concise, and useful manner” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

The district court explained that the City of Hope did “not present a statement of compliance with the prefiling conference requirement, as required by the Local Rule. Although the record shows that the parties long have contemplated filing motions for summary judgment, the motion itself is devoid of any information showing that counsel discussed the issues in the motion thoroughly such that the briefing will be “directed to those substantive issues requiring resolution by the Court.” (Initial Standing Order § 9(c).)”

The Plaintiff also noted that no pre-filing conference took place and this district court agreed stating that “[t]his is apparent, for example, from Defendant’s argument concerning Plaintiff’s declaration of ownership claim, which Defendant notes is incompatible with Plaintiff’s election to affirm the contract. This issue is one of many that the parties could narrow or eliminate in an adequate prefiling conference of counsel. See Lopez v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. SACV 16-1409 AG (KESx), 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144380, at *5–6 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2016) (“Making two sides talk can significantly help focus and clarify disputes, even when one side still has to file a motion at the end of the day.”).”

The district court then noted that it had discretion to deny the motion for failing to comply with the pre-filing requirements. Accordingly, it denied the motion without prejudice with the ability to renew the motion after an adequate pre-filing conference of counsel.

Mardiros v. City of Hope, Case No. 2:19-cv-02196-MCS-MAA (C.D. Cal. Jan. 22, 2021)

The authors of are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or