Novell has filed its Reply [PDF] to SCO's Response Concerning Novell's Notice of Related Proceeding, which asks the new judge now assigned to the Novell case in Utah, Hon. Ted Stewart, to consolidate the two cases, SCO v. IBM and SCO v. Novell, or in the alternative to at least assign the same judge to both, which SCO opposes. Novell's position is that the two cases were assigned to the same judge before, and for some very good reasons they should still be with one judge.
From the filing:
11/30/2009 - 604 - RESPONSE re 600 Notice (Other), filed by Defendant Novell, Inc.. (Sneddon, Heather) (Entered: 11/30/2009)
SCO devotes most of its response to its argument that the consolidation of this case with SCO v. IBM does not make sense because no such request was made before and the cases are too complicated. SCO, however, fails to explain why the two cases should not be assigned to the same judge, as they were before Judge Kimball recused himself. SCO also does not deny that there is substantial overlap between the cases, especially with regard to the core copyright infringement claims.
Novell asks that the case be assigned to Chief Judge Tena Campbell, who will be presiding over SCO v. IBM or consolidate it with SCO v. IBM, "so as to promote the efficient administration and prompt resolution of both cases."
As an initial matter, consolidation and/or assignment to the same judge was unnecessary before, given that both cases already were assigned to Judge Kimball, who repeatedly recognized their extensive overlap. Further, the fact that both cases are quite complicated is precisely the reason why they should be assigned to the same judge or consolidated. Familiarity with the facts and issues in one case will make it much easier to decide similar issues in the other case, as is evident from Judge Kimball's rulings.
Just guessing, but I'm thinking they would also prefer a judge who doesn't have a close relationship with the father of SCO's attorney, Brent Hatch. There is, after all, a smell to that, rightly or wrongly. And Judge Stewart does have that background. So, unless he sends the case elsewhere, every time SCO wins a point on a ruling, many who believe SCO has no legitimate claims against Linux will assume the worst. It's one reason why judges recuse themselves, to avoid even causing the impression that the fix is in.