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Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Co.

662 F.3d 931 (2011)

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Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

662 F.3d 931 (2011)

Facts

Monica Gonzalez-Servin (plaintiff) had filed a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company (Ford) (defendant) that was part of multidistrict litigation against Ford for alleged tire defects. District Judge Sarah Barker entered an order transferring Gonzalez-Servin’s case from Indiana to Mexico, and Gonzalez-Servin appealed that order. Two years before the appeal was filed, the Seventh Circuit had decided and published an opinion in Abad v. Bayer Corp., 563 F.3d 663 (7th Cir. 2009), affirming an order from Judge Barker transferring a case to Argentina that was part of the same multidistrict tire-defect litigation and that had facts similar to Gonzalez-Servin’s case. Despite this extensive overlap, Gonzalez-Servin’s attorney did not mention Abad anywhere in Gonzalez-Servin’s opening appellate brief. In contrast, Ford cited Abad extensively in its opposition brief. However, in Gonzalez-Servin’s reply brief, her attorney again did not mention Abad or try to distinguish it from Gonzalez-Servin’s case. Separately, an attorney for Yehuda Kerman (plaintiff) had filed a lawsuit against Bayer Corporation (Bayer) (defendant) that was part of multidistrict litigation for infected blood products that was also before Judge Barker. Judge Barker transferred Kerman’s case to Israel, and Kerman appealed. Kerman’s opening appellate brief was filed before Abad was published, but Kerman’s appeal was stayed for possible settlement. While the appeal was stayed, the Seventh Circuit published Abad and an opinion in Chang v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 599 F.3d 728 (7th Cir, 2010), affirming an order from Judge Baker transferring a case that was part of the same multidistrict blood-product litigation and that had facts similar to Kerman’s case. When Kerman’s appeal was reactivated, Bayer mentioned Abad and Chang extensively in its opposition brief. In Kerman’s reply brief, her attorney never mentioned Chang and only mentioned Abad briefly and without any real discussion. The Seventh Circuit consolidated Gonzalez-Servin’s and Kerman’s appeals to issue a published decision about their attorneys’ conduct on appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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