On June 12, Judge Hudson granted an emergency motion to stay arbitration proceedings, pending the court’s resolution of the issue of arbitrability in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division. See Sauer Brands, Inc. v. Polytrade Int’l, Inc., No. 3:23-cv-181-HEH, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135786 (E.D. Va. June 12, 2023). As getting a case in or out of arbitration may be critical in pursuing a merits-based strategy or mitigating against excessive costs, this case provides several key considerations in structuring arbitration agreements and how to procedurally maneuver when one party proceeds to arbitration unilaterally over the other party’s objection.
Following up on our post on obtaining temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in the EDVA, a recent decision by an EDVA judge clarifies that a motion to extend a temporary restraining order (TRO) filed after the close of business on the date the TRO expires is untimely because “the TRO had already expired at the time that the Plaintiff moved the Court” for an extension. XYZ Corporation v. The Unincorporated Associations Identified in Schedule A, Case No. 1:23C-cv-00673-PTG-JFA (E.D.Va. July 25, 2023).
Much like our recent post regarding an EDVA judge’s denial of a joint request to vacate the court’s earlier rulings after a settlement, another recent EDVA decision reinforces that EDVA judges are unwilling to simply rubber-stamp actions that parties agree to as part of a settlement.
In significant and hard-fought litigation, it is not uncommon for parties to reach a settlement that includes an agreement to jointly move the court to vacate earlier rulings on key motions in the case. For a settling plaintiff that lost the earlier ruling, vacatur can be important to preserve potential claims against other defendants. Likewise, vacatur of an adverse ruling against a defendant allows that defendant to contest the issue in future cases. For the party that prevailed on the motion, there is often little incentive to oppose an agreement to request vacatur if it is part of an otherwise favorable settlement agreement.
On June 12, the Richmond Division of the Federal Bar Association hosted a Lunch and Learn panel for chapter members, area practitioners, and special guests — the Honorable Mark R. Colombell and the Honorable Summer L. Speight, the Richmond Division’s newest magistrate judge sworn in earlier this year. With her appointment, Judge Speight returns to the Richmond Division, having begun her legal career there as a law clerk for the Honorable M. Hannah Lauck. Before receiving her appointment as a magistrate judge, Judge Speight served as a partner with McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond, VA. There, she counseled and represented employers in all aspects of employment-related litigation, traditional labor law, employee benefits, and ERISA litigation.