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AIA America, Inc. v. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals

No 7th Amendment Right to Jury for Fact-Finding in Fee Awards

AIA America, Inc. v. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, (Fed. Cir. Aug. 10, 2017) (Newman, Lourie, HUGHES) (E.D. Pa.: Savage) (3 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms § 285 attorney fee award to Avid. The opinion rejects AIA’s argument that the Seventh Amendment required a jury trial to determine the facts underlying the award. The opinion applies the test of Tull, 481 U.S. 412 (1987), to conclude that an award of fees is properly characterized as an equitable remedy, not a legal one, so the Seventh Amendment requires no jury trial. It rejects AIA’s argument that, because the fee award involved a measure of fact-finding as to state of mind and intent, a jury trial was required; such argument lacked caselaw support. The district court also did not err in making fact-findings that went beyond what the jury had addressed (the jury had concluded that AIA lacked standing to press a patent suit against Avid, and had engaged in bad conduct in obtaining the patent in question). Cases like Door-Master, 256 F.3d 1308 (Fed. Cir. 2001), and Jurgens, 80 F.3d 1566 (Fed. Cir. 1996), bar a court from making fact-finding inconsistent with the jury’s verdict, but they do not bar additional fact-finding that is not inconsistent with the verdict. The district court also did not violate AIA’s due process rights, as it provided both parties an opportunity for briefing, submission of evidence, and an in-court hearing on the fee issue.

KEYWORDS: JURY TRIAL; SEVENTH AMENDMENT; ATTORNEY FEES