Just a twig about Branch qui tam

Ordinarily, a Motion to appear Pro Hac Vice does not merit a mention, much less a post.  However, there is nothing ordinary about the appearance of a Susman Godfrey attorney for the plaintiffs in the Branch Consultants qui tam case.

Founded in 1980, Susman Godfrey focuses its nationally recognized practice on just one thing: big – stakes commercial litigation. We are one of the nation’s leading litigation boutique law firms with locations in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York. Each of the firm’s 79 trial attorneys devotes all of his or her time and talent to achieving excellent outcomes within the complex commercial litigation environment…

Susman Godfrey’s very first case, the Corrugated Container antitrust trial, led to one of the highest antitrust jury verdicts ever obtained.

Like that antitrust experience a lot; but, what I really find intriguing is…

Susman Godfrey has a burgeoning and successful intellectual property litigation practice…In intellectual property cases Susman Godfrey brings to the table the same talent, deep trial experience, and unparalleled record of success that it brings to all litigation matters…For most depositions and other case related events we send one attorney and one attorney alone to handle the matter.

Readers of the SLABBED post Let’s talk – the Branch qui tam, Rigsby, and Judge Sarah Vance will likely recall Judge Vance’s Order and Reasons on the preservation of documents and recognize the significance of Susman Godfrey’s expertise in intellectual property law:

1. The parties are directed to maintain, preserve, and refrain from destroying or altering the following documents and records:

a. Any documents, records, electronic data (including but not limited to e-mails and metadata), or other evidence falling within the categories already requested by any party;

b. Any documents, records, electronic data (including but not limited to e-mails and metadata), or other evidence falling within the categories set forth in Rule 26(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;

c. Copies of any documents, records, electronic data (including but not limited to e-mails and metadata), or other evidence produced by a party or its agents or principals to the United States or any agency thereof in connection with a subpoena, investigation, or inquiry related to insurance claims on properties for which the National Flood Insurance Program paid for damage causedby Hurricane Katrina;

d. Copies of any documents, records, electronic data (including but not limited to e-mails and metadata), or other evidence produced to a party or its agents or principals by the United States or any agency thereof in connection with a request pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act or other inquiry related to insurance claims on properties for which the National Flood Insurance Program paid for damage caused by Hurricane Katrina;

e. Any documents, records, electronic data (including but not limited to e-mails and metadata), or other evidence that a party knows, or reasonably should know, is relevant to any claim or defense in this action, is reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, or is reasonably likely to be requested; and

f. Any documents, records, electronic data (including but not limited to e-mails and metadata), or other evidence described in the foregoing categories, whether it is presently in the possession or control of a party or comes into the possession or control of a party following the Court’s approval and entry of this Stipulation.

g. Internal rules, policies or guidelines regarding the allocation of Hurricane Katrina damage between “NFIP flood policies” and “wind policies.”

2. This Order is effective immediately, and shall be in effect throughout the course of this action unless otherwise directed by the Court.

3. This Order does not address, limit, or determine the relevance, discoverability, or admission into evidence of any document, regardless of whether the document is required to be preserved under the terms of this Order. The parties do not waive and specifically reserve any objections as to the production, discoverability, or confidentiality of documents preserved under this Order or the subject of any outstanding request for documents.

4. The Parties shall communicate the existence and substance of this Order to those employees responsible for carrying out the parties’ obligations under the Order as well as employees likely to possess documents required to be preserved.

5. The Parties may modify this order by written stipulation.

A big SLABBED welcome to Matthew Berry, attorney from Susman Godfrey’s Seattle office and the designated hitter for the Branch Consultants.

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