Rockwood Retaining Walls, Inc. spent ten years and obviously a lot of money defending claims of patent infringement represented by the boutique Twin Cities IP firm Patterson Thuente Skaar & Christensen (PTSC). The litigation did not go very well for Rockwood. After the ten-year fight, the jury handed down a $24 million verdict against it.
Rockwood turned around and sued PTSC. PTSC moved to dismiss. Rockwood moved to remand the case to state court, where Rockwood had sued PTSC. U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank (D. Minn.) first held that the case belonged in federal court because the state law claim of malpractice is heavily intertwined with federal patent law. Judge Frank went on to hold that the complaint was insufficiently pled under the requirements of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, Iqbal and Twombly to withstand a motion to dismiss.
Rockwood has 30 days to amend its complaint, to put meat on the bones, as it were. For better or for worse, the requirements of pleading seem substantially augmented by Iqbal/Twombly and federal lawsuits now require more “front loading” in the form of detailed factual allegations (and threshold motion practice).