On September 9, 2015, ALJ MaryJoan McNamara issued Order No. 99 in Certain Laser Abraded Denim Garments (Inv. No. 337-TA-930).
By way of background, this investigation is based on an August 18, 2014 complaint filed by RevoLaze, LLC and TechnoLines, LLC (collectively, "Complainants") alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain laser abraded denim garments that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,990,444; 6,140,602; 6,252,196; 6,664,505; 6,819,972; and 6,858,815. See our August 19, 2014 and September 19, 2014 posts for more details on the complaint and Notice of Investigation, respectively.
According to Order No. 99, ALJ McNamara sought additional information from the parties based on Respondent's allegation that it was unable to engage in settlement discussions with Complainants despite numerous requests. Specifically, the parties were asked to file statements detailing their efforts to engage in settlement, including the mediation ordered in the Procedural Schedule.
ALJ McNamara characterized the responses as involving "finger-pointing, contradictions, discussions of settlement activity not relevant to the specific questions  posed, and [having] a disregard for the Commission's Rules, Ground Rules, and Amended Notice of Investigation." As such, the ALJ issued an order to show cause why both parties and their counsel should not be monetarily sanctioned or face other consequences for, inter alia, failing to conduct a first settlement conference and one-day mediation as ordered in the Procedural Schedule, and failing to report either by the date ordered. ALJ McNamara considered the failure to timely complete the activities and file reports ordered by Chief ALJ Bullock to be a "serious and perplexing lapse" suitable for sanctions or other adverse consequences, but noted she will consider possible documented mitigating factors.