• October 18, 2010

[UPDATE:  The day after the Eighth Circuit rejected the parties’ joint request to stay issuance of its opinion in light of the parties’ settlement, the Court released its decision affirming U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle, Sr.’s dismissal in favor of Medtronic.

U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Joseph Melloy’s concurrence-in-part and dissent-in-part seems to express serious reservations about the “rigid” application of Twombly pleading standards resulting in an “insurmountable hurdle” for plaintiffs. ]

Published 10/14/10:  Sometimes nothing spurs settlement better than a pending Court of Appeals decision on a legal question of great legal (and financial) significance if decided one way or the other way on appeal.

It is therefore not surprising that Medtronic and plaintiffs’ counsel settled the Sprint Fidelis litigation for $268 million under the ominous shadow of a pending decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals on the critical issue of federal preemption of state law claims.

What is surprising is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit today rejected a joint motion to stay issuance of opinion.  The Eighth Circuit docket reports that U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Joseph Melloy would have granted the joint motion to stay issuance of opinion.

(If the parties resolve the case and withdraw the appeal, how would a decision not be an impermissible advisory opinion?  Is it much different if the parties jointly request that the Court stay issuance of the opinion?  Perhaps the parties could stipulate not to be bound by it, no matter how it comes out?)

Far too soon to predict the ramifications of this development on the settlement.

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