Appellate Practice

7th Circuit says sorry about forgetting case for 5 years

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A Thursday federal appellate ruling made headlines because the court admittedly forgot about the case for five years after it was remanded in 2010 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We close with an apology to the parties,” the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its order (PDF). “After the Rule 54 statements were received, the papers were placed in the wrong stack and forgotten. The court’s internal system for tracking cases under advisement does not include remands from the Supreme Court, so the normal process of alerts and ticklers failed. We will see to it that this is fixed. That may be small comfort to these litigants and their lawyers, but at least some good will come from the delay.”

The case, brought by a group of investors against Harris Associates, concerned appropriate fees for advising mutual funds.

The case had not been forgotten by the plaintiffs’ attorney, James C. Bradley, who told the Wall Street Journal Law Blog that he periodically checked in with the clerk’s office at the Chicago-based 7th Circuit.

“I asked if it had fallen through the cracks,” Bradley said, “and was told no, it hadn’t.”

Law Blog says the clerk was not available Thursday for comment.

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