United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
TOTAL REBUILD, INC.
PHC FLUID POWER, L.L.C.
B. WHITEHURST MAG. JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Stipulation of Dismissal [Doc. No. 445]
filed by Plaintiff Total Rebuild, Inc., (“Total
Rebuild”) and Defendant PHC Fluid Power, LLC
(“PHC”). Although it is styled a
“Stipulation of Dismissal, ” the Court construes
this filing as a motion for vacatur. Respondents Durio,
McGoffin, Stagg, Ackermann, PC, Chase A. Manuel, Steven G.
Durio, William W. Stagg, and Ryan Goudelocke (collectively
“Respondents”) have filed an objection [Doc. No.
446]. PHC has filed a reply to Respondents' objection
[Doc. No. 447]. Total Rebuild has filed an opposition to
Respondents' objection [Doc. No. 448]. Respondents have
filed a reply to PHC's reply and to Total Rebuild's
objection [Doc. No. 449].
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
a patent infringement case in which Total Rebuild contends
systems and/or methods utilized by or through PHC infringe
claims of United States Patent No. 8, 146, 428 (“the
‘428 Patent”). The ‘428 Patent is directed
to systems and methods for safely testing devices and
components under high-pressure.
a bench trial on inequitable conduct, the Court issued an
Opinion finding that the ‘428 Patent is unenforceable
due to inequitable conduct, because the inventor, Mr. Terry
Lavergne (“Lavergne”), withheld material
information of prior sales form the United States Patent and
Trademark Office (“USPTO”) with the specific
intent to deceive the USPTO into granting the patent. [Doc.
Nos. 388, 427]. Accordingly, on October 15, 2019, the Court
rendered Judgment in favor of PHC and against Total Rebuild
dismissing all claims of Total Rebuild against PHC with
prejudice. [Doc. No. 428].
November 8, 2019, the Court issued a Ruling and Order [Doc.
Nos. 440, 441], which (1) denied PHC's Motion for Rule 11
Sanctions and Other Relief against Total Rebuild and its
counsel, the Respondents [Doc. No. 332]; (2) denied PHC's
Motion for Attorney Fees, Expenses, and Costs under 35 U.S.C.
§ 285 against Total Rebuild and Lavergne [Doc. No. 399];
and (3) denied PHC's Motion for Attorney Fees, Expenses,
and Costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 against Respondents
[Doc. No. 401].
November 13, 2019, Total Rebuild filed a Notice of Appeal to
the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit [Doc.
No. 443] appealing numerous pre-trial Rulings as well as the
ultimate Rulings and Judgment [Doc. Nos. 388, 427, and 428].
December 5, 2019, Total Rebuild and PHC filed the pending
motion for vacatur [Doc. No. 445], in which they request that
the Court vacate its inequitable conduct rulings in this case
[Doc. Nos. 388, 427 and 428] and further request that the
Court vacate its ruling and order denying PHC's motions
for sanctions, attorney fees, expenses, and costs [Doc. Nos.
440, 441], all based on their settlement.
December 6, 2019, Respondents filed an opposition [Doc. No.
446] in which they object solely to vacatur of the
Court's ruling and order denying PHC's motions for
sanctions, attorney fees, expenses, and costs against
Respondents [Doc. Nos. 440, 441].
LAW AND ANALYSIS
the Court notes that, once an appeal is noticed, it does not
have jurisdiction to dismiss a case pursuant to a
stipulation. Generally, once an appeal is noticed, the
district court is divested of jurisdiction and the matter is
transferred immediately to the appellate court. Farmhand
v. Anel Engineering Industries, Inc., 1140');">693 F.2d 1140,
1145 (5th Cir. 1982); Mazurek v. United States, 2001
WL 616668 (E.D. La. April 20, 2001).
Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co., 459 U.S.
56 (1982), the United States Supreme Court set forth the
principle that the filing of a notice of appeal is an event
of jurisdictional significance--it confers jurisdiction on
the court of appeals and divests the district court of its
control over those aspects of the case involved in the
appeal. Id. at 58; see also Gundacker v. Unisys
Corp.,151 F.3d 842');">151 ...