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Stay Lifted on AutoZone as of December 31st - Updated
Friday, September 26 2008 @ 06:03 AM EDT

The stay on SCO v. AutoZone has been lifted, and the case can resume after December 31. We learn this from the minutes of the status hearing that was held on the 22nd, now listed on PACER.

I gather from the minutes that SCO asked for the stay to remain in place, which surprises me, but then again, nothing SCO does should surprise me any more.

Here are the minutes from the status conference:

81 - Filed: 09/22/2008
Entered: 09/25/2008
Status Conference
Docket Text: MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS - Status Conference held on 9/22/2008 before Judge Robert C. Jones. Crtrm Administrator: K. Goetsch; Pla Counsel: Richard Pocker with Ryan Tidbits (General Counsel); Def Counsel: Laura Bielinski; Court Reporter/FTR #: A. Bareng; Time of Hearing: 9:20a.m.; Courtroom: 7D;

The Court inquires as to status of this case as well as the cases pending in New Jersey, Delaware, and Utah. Mr. Pocker provides a summary as to status of the cases and requests that the stay of this case continue in effect. Ms. Bielinski submits the matter on behalf of defendants.

IT IS ORDERED the stay in this case shall expire on 12/31/08 at which time the parties will be required to proceed with the prosecution of this case.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED a proposed Discovery Plan/Scheduling Order shall be submitted forthwith upon expiration of the stay. (no image attached) (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - KXG)

They got Ryan Tibbitts' name wrong. It's not Tidbits. Mr. Pocker is one of SCO's attorneys, the one who wrote the letter to the court the other day that sounded to me like SCO was hoping to go forward. It will be intriguing to read the transcript once it is made public, but that can't happen for months. We contacted the court, and they told us 90 days, the same rule we bumped into in Utah.

This is all very odd. I find it hard to believe the judge would order the case to go forward on his own initiative. And I don't quite see how AutoZone can ask that the stay be lifted, or rather, how it could request it here and not in bankruptcy court. So unless the minutes are incorrect and it is SCO asking that it go forward, the judge seems to be the only one in the room who can have done it.

Perhaps he has had enough and rather than order it to go forward, ordered that SCO go forward right now or he's clearing the deck, so to speak, of a dead case. At least on life support. It's simply impossible to know from these notes. Very strange. Stay tuned.

There are some orders telling three of the attorneys to sign up within five days or they'll be sanctioned, but the two on Autozone's side, Doug Bridges and James Harvey, no longer work on this case because they left Alston & Bird, we learn from a Notice of Change of Attorney, although the firm still represents AutoZone. And as for Scott Gant, he left Boies Schiller a while ago (two full years ago), so we'll probably see a Notice about that in due time:

78 - Filed & Entered: 09/24/2008
Docket Text: ORDER( Notice of Compliance is due by 9/29/2008 for Mr. Bridges and Mr. Harvey.) Signed by Magistrate Judge George W Foley, Jr. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - AXM)

79 - Filed & Entered: 09/24/2008
Docket Text: ORDER( Notice of Compliance is due by 9/29/2008 for Mr. Grant.) Signed by Magistrate Judge George W Foley, Jr. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - AXM)

80 - Filed & Entered: 09/25/2008
Notice of Change of Attorney
Docket Text: NOTICE of Change of Attorney on behalf of Defendant Autozone, Inc.. (Wilmer, Nikki)

What is particularly interesting is that I don't see any of the Boies boys that we know on the list as having been there for the status hearing. Most cases don't cling like this one, for years on end in a dormant state.

And so we have three attorneys, at least one of whom, I'm guessing, was sitting with his feet up on the desk today, looking out the window and musing on life in general and on how glad he is he doesn't have to do this case any more in particular.

Richard J. Pocker, my friend Google tells me, is an Administrative Partner for Boies Schiller in the Nevada office. Here's his bio, which indicates a very interesting and accomplished career. I don't know what Boies Schiller means by that term, administrative partner, but usually it means the lawyer who keeps track of the office and keeps all the cases running smoothly, in addition to whatever cases he litigates personally.

Boies Schiller didn't send anyone from Florida. Let's put it that way.

Update: The fact that the judge ordered that the case be prosecuted as of December 31 made me think of the legal phrase "lack of prosecution", which is one way a case can be dismissed with prejudice. You can't just sue someone, get them into the court system, and then leave them there forever without finishing. So I went hunting for Nevada's rules, and here they are, Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure:

(e) Want of Prosecution. The court may in its discretion dismiss any action for want of prosecution on motion of any party or on the courtís own motion and after due notice to the parties, whenever plaintiff has failed for 2 years after action is filed to bring such action to trial. Any action heretofore or hereafter commenced shall be dismissed by the court in which the same shall have been commenced or to which it may be transferred on motion of any party, or on the courtís own motion, after due notice to the parties, unless such action is brought to trial within 5 years after the plaintiff has filed the action, except where the parties have stipulated in writing that the time may be extended. When, in any action after judgment, a motion for a new trial has been made and a new trial granted, such action shall be dismissed on motion of any party after due notice to the parties, or by the court of its own motion, if no appeal has been taken, unless such action is brought to trial within 3 years after the entry of the order granting a new trial, except when the parties have stipulated in writing that the time may be extended. When in an action after judgment, an appeal has been taken and judgment reversed with cause remanded for a new trial (or when an appeal has been taken from an order granting a new trial and such order is affirmed on appeal), the action must be dismissed by the trial court on motion of any party after due notice to the parties, or of its own motion, unless brought to trial within 3 years from the date upon which remittitur is filed by the clerk of the trial court. A dismissal under this subdivision (e) is a bar to another action upon the same claim for relief against the same defendants unless the court otherwise provides.

So there you are. The judge, on his own initiative, can say, Enough is enough. Go forward with your case and bring it to trial, or forever hold your peace about your alleged injury.

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