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Challenge to Judge's Bias in IP Suit Against Google, Plus Criminal & Labor Law Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on September 09, 2010 4:41 PM

US v. Diaz-Jimenez, 10-1988, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a sentence of 21 months' imprisonment, in a prosecution of defendant for being present in the United States illegally.  In reversing, the court remanded for resentencing as there was a serious breach of the plea agreement that defendant be recommended a sentence at the bottom of the guidelines range of 18 months, and the defendant is also entitled to be resentenced by a different judge.

 

In re Specht, 10-2823, involved a plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandamus, claiming that the district judge's denial of his motion to add AT&T as a defendant created an appearance of impropriety because the judge's wife is a member of AT&T's board of directors, in plaintiff's suit against Google and 47 other defendants for trademark infringement, related to Google's Android operating system for mobile phones. 

In denying the petition, the court held that section 455(b)(5)(i) does not disqualify the judge, because it applies only to the relation between a judge and a party, and AT&T Mobility is not a "party" to this case.  Similarly, section 455(b)(4) does not require the judge's recusal because AT&T Mobility is not a "party," and it would not be possible to say that either the judge or his wife has a "financial interest" in the controversy.  And lastly, the court held that, although the judge in this case should not have acted on the motion to add AT&T Mobility as a defendant, the judge's failure to refer the motion to another judge was inconsequential.

Brown v. Auto. Components Holdings, LLC, 09-1641, concerned a challenge to the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, in plaintiff's suit against her former employer for interference with her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  In affirming, the court held that defendant's termination of plaintiff's employment based on her noncompliance with its internal leave procedures did not violate the FMLA because the undisputed facts establish that plaintiff was absent without leave after failing to give proper FMLA notice for an extension of a previously requested leave period.

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