The Honorable Colm F. Connolly and The Honorable Maryellen Noreika both were sworn in as District Judges on the United States District Court for the District of Delaware this week.  They became the 26th and 27th individuals in the history of the Court to be appointed as District Judges.

The Court announced that Judges Connolly and Noreika will begin to be assigned new cases on August 15, 2018.  The Court will be eliminating the Vacant Judgeship (“VAC”) docket.  VAC cases that are currently assigned to a Magistrate Judge without consent of the parties to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge will be reassigned to a District Judge – primarily Judges Connolly and Noreika.  The Court also will be phasing out the regular assignment of cases to Visiting Judges.  Cases that are currently assigned to a Visiting Judge will remain with the assigned Visiting Judge or may be reassigned to a Delaware District Judge – primarily Judges Connolly and Noreika.

The Court also announced that Senior Judge Sleet will be retiring from the bench at the end of September.  All cases assigned to Judgle Sleet (“GMS”) will be reassigned primarily to Judges Connolly and Noreika by a date on or around Judge Sleet’s retirement.  With the addition of Judges Connolly and Noreika, the Court is back to full strength.

A full copy of the Court’s Announcement is attached hereto.

By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Gregory M. Sleet in SurgiQuest v. Lexion Medical, LLC., Civil Action No. 14-382-GMS (D.Del. May 16, 2018), the Court denied Plaintiff/Counterclaim-Defendant SurgiQuest’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL Motion”) on the jury’s verdict which found that SurgiQuest had engaged in false and misleading advertising and unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act and Delaware common law and awarded monetary damages to Defendant/Counterclaim-Plaintiff Lexion Medical, LLC. The Court also denied Lexion’s post-trial motions for permanent injunction, disgorgement of profits, attorneys’ fees and prejudgment interest. Id. at *2. The Court granted Lexion’s motion for postjudgment interest. Id. at *26.

In support of its JMOL motion on the jury’s award of monetary damages, SurgiQuest asserted that no reasonable jury could have awarded money damages because (1) Lexion failed to prove causation between the false advertising claims and damages; (2) the jury instructions on causation and damages were incorrect; and (3) the Court improperly admitted hearsay and salesperson confusion evidence. Id. at *4. In response, Lexion contended that SurgiQuest could not prove a lack of sufficient evidence because the pertinent statements were literally false, consumers purchased SurgiQuest’s product and stopped purchasing Lexion’s product, and the evidence of confusion showed that the false advertising actually deceived a portion of the buying public. Id. at *5.

After considering the entire record in the case, including the evidence in the record, the parties’ post-trial submissions, and the applicable law, the Court agreed with Lexion and concluded that (1) the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict that there was a causal connection between the false advertising by SurgiQuest and Lexion’s loss; (2) the jury instructions were proper; and (3) the statements alleged by SurgiQuest to be hearsay and salesperson confusion evidence were properly admitted. Id. at *5-13. The Court also concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict awarding punitive damages to Lexion. Id. at*13-17.

A copy of the Memorandum Opinion is attached.