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In re Micron Technology, Inc.

Parties May Bring TC Heartland Venue Motions in Pending Cases, But District Courts Have Discretion

In re Micron Technology, Inc., (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2017) (TARANTO, Chen, Hughes) (D. Mass.: Young) (4 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir issues writ of mandamus vacating denial of motion to dismiss for improper venue. The district court erred in finding the venue issue waived based on Micron’s failure to include the issue in its initial motion to dismiss, and in reasoning that TC Heartland, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017), was not a change of law sufficient to release Micron from the waiver. Per Rule 12(h)(1)(A) and Rule 12(g)(2), there was no waiver because the venue defense was not “available” to Micron prior to TC Heartland. The opinion declines, however, to order either dismissal or transfer of the case. Citing Dietz, 136 S. Ct. 1885 (2016), the opinion describes how district courts have “inherent powers” that may be used to find a venue objection forfeited notwithstanding a movant’s technical compliance with Rule 12. It particularly notes that district courts in the past did not abuse discretion by denying post-TC Heartland venue motions presented close to trial. District courts may also take into account the general timeliness of the motion, and evidence of “a defendant’s tactical wait-and-see bypassing of an opportunity to declare a desire for a different forum.” Op. at 18. On remand, the district court can take such issues into account.

KEYWORDS: VENUE; MOTION TO DISMISS; MANDAMUS