• May 8, 2017

Update (May 8, 2017): In the Sorin v. St. Jude case, covered here at some length previously, the court awarded Defendant St. Jude, the victor at trial, its costs last week (costs claimed: $49,354.24, costs allowed: $47,444.85).

At the same time, Sorin’s motion for a new trial, discussed below, is pending. In an earlier post, we predicted that Sorin would lose its motion for a new trial but Sorin’s reply brief in support of its motion is strong advocacy. It shakes our confidence in our prediction.

(Having said that, check out the number of Faegre lawyers on the signature block. At what point does the cost exceed the benefit of yet another talented lawyer’s input to a legal brief?)

Will Chief Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.) be more swayed by Sorin’s effort to exclude evidence that Sorin itself proposed as evidence at trial, or by St. Jude offering evidence that St. Jude has strenuously objected to (and then used at trial), or, finally by the simple fact that ordering a new trial is a drastic and expensive measure to address one supposed evidentiary defect. Does a single bad call in a 9-inning game require a rematch?

Update (February 1, 2017) (under headline: A Vein of Truth Running Through Trial Courts, Legislatures, and Slaughterhouses): Regular readers might recall a recent post, below, in which Sorin, the plaintiff, submitted an exhibit on its own exhibit list for use at trial, to which St. Jude, the defendant, objected. The trial judge (U.S. Dist. Ct. Chief Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn)) agreed with St. Jude that the evidence was irrelevant.

Then St. Jude offered this same evidence at trial and Sorin not only objected to the evidence but, after Sorin lost, it argued that introduction of the evidence tainted the trial and required a new trial.

St. Jude’s forceful (if predictable) response is that the Court committed no error in admitting the evidence and, even if the Court did, this hypothetical error falls far short of the “heavy burden” to require a new trial.

Minnesota Litigator predicts that Sorin will lose its motion for a new trial. The most persuasive part of St. Jude’s response memo is its first line:

After an 11-day trial involving testimony from sixteen witnesses … and the admission of over 190 exhibits, a twelve-member jury unanimously found in favor of Defendant St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. (“SJM”) on every claim Plaintiff asserted.

Trials, like legislation, and like sausage-making, are messy processes. We need to be vigilant, we need to apply sound guidelines, and we need to dress appropriately, but if we over-do it, we’ll never get anything rendered, passed, resolved, or, for that matter, barbecued.

Update (January 12, 2017) (under the headline: Sorin v. St. Jude: An Example of the Unpredictability of U.S. Civil Litigation): Last month, we covered the trial battle of titan advocates, Faegre Baker Daniels for Sorin Group and Dorsey & Whitney for St. Jude, in the original post below (and in earlier posts). The lawsuit concerned St. Jude’s hiring of Sorin Group employees and whether or not St. Jude and the ex-Sorin employees complied with their contractual and common law obligations.

The Defendant St. Jude/Dorsey team won at trial.

Sorin finds itself in the difficult position of moving for a new trial. Sorin faces an even more difficult maneuver in that its primary basis for claiming a new trial is St. Jude’s offering evidence at trial that Sorin, itself, had put on its own exhibit list in advance of trial.

The turn-around is even more contorted than that. St. Jude offered evidence at trial that St. Jude, itself, had vigorously opposed before trial as irrelevant and “highly prejudicial.” St. Jude had moved for the evidence to be excluded (unopposed by Sorin) and the Court ruled that the evidence was irrelevant and inadmissible. Then St. Jude appears to have placed heavy emphasis on the evidence at trial, the so-called “Saxon Order.”

St. Jude’s argument, in essence, was that Sorin Group opted not to seek a preliminary injunction against St. Jude and the other defendants soon after Sorin filed the lawsuit. St. Jude argued that this, in turn, reflected Sorin Group’s bad faith or, at best, its lack of confidence in its case against St. Jude.

The argument was improper. Evidence of a decision to forego a motion for a preliminary injunction, evidence of having moved for a preliminary injunction and lost, or, for that matter, evidence of having moved for a preliminary injunction and won, should not be admitted at the trial on the merits. The risk of unfair prejudice is extremely high; the probative value should be zero. A decision to forego a preliminary injunction simply cannot be argued to be evidence that a litigant has a weak lawsuit, a bad lawsuit, or has brought the lawsuit in bad faith.

But will this be enough to have the jury verdict in favor of St. Jude thrown out?

Boxing Boxers

George Bellows, Dempsey v. Firpo, 1924

Original post (December 16, 2017) (under the headline: “Sorin v. St. Jude: A Jury Verdict Win for St. Jude (and its Dorsey & Whitney lawyers”):  In an “employee raiding” or “brain drain” case that we covered in earlier posts, St. Jude and its lawyers from Dorsey & Whitney clobbered the Plaintiff, Florida-based Sorin Group USA, Inc., represented by Faegre Baker Daniels. Here, linked, is the redacted jury verdict form.

Congratulations to Dorsey lawyers, Joe Hammell and JoLynn Markison!


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