Please help me understand this court case (if it is one)
February 20, 2012 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Please help me understand this court case (if it is one). I have made some attempts to try and find help with the California court noted here but I've been told "that's not us" and am a little embarrassed with my attempts to chase this down. I've also emailed the attorneys and other people involved but they are not responding perhaps due to the controversial nature of the case.

What I am looking for specifically here is 1) Is this referred to as a "complaint" or "request" below? 2) What is the status, how could I find out? 3) Does this judge or court have a website, email, or telephone I could use to follow up?

If you're an expert with this sort of thing I also wouldn't mind an explanation as to what the "court description" is on the page above, as well as the "Docket Report" on this page:
posted by uhom to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Yes, this is a complaint. It was filed in federal district court, in the Central District of California.

This is the court's website.

If the docket on the Justicia website is outdated, you can find out the current status of the case by logging into the PACER page (you'll need to get a PACER login and password first), and doing a "query" on the docket number (11-CV-7798) to look up the current docket.
posted by mikeand1 at 12:48 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am an attorney, but I am not your attorney. This is not legal advice. I assume you are asking out of curiosity or for some other disinterested purpose (e.g. you are a journalist writing a story on the case). If you are a party to this case or if your rights may be affected by it, you should consult a competent attorney in your jurisdiction immediately.

The Justia docket (your second link) is several months out of date.

This is a case filed in a federal district court, which is the lowest level of the federal court system. In other words, this is a trial, not an appeal. Specifically, the case was filed in the Central District of California.

If you want detailed, timely access to the filings in the case, you need a PACER account. PACER is the federal court system's electronic filing and case management system. Getting an account is free, but documents accessed via PACER are not. Typically, documents on PACER are 8 cents per page, but there is no charge for reading court opinions, and I believe that if you incur less than $10 per quarter then the charges are waived.

Take care to save any documents you access through PACER so that you don't have to pay to access them again. You can sometimes find copies of PACER documents through the RECAP project's archives, and if you use Firefox then you can contribute to those archives. The RECAP Firefox plugin will automatically send anything you download via PACER to RECAP.

The case was filed on September 27, 2011. The document you linked to is the complaint, which initiates the lawsuit. An answer to the complaint was filed December 9, 2011, though you can't see that on the Justia page because it's out of date. From the PACER docket report (i.e. a listing of everything that has been filed in court so far), it appears that the parties are moving into the discovery phase. That's the part of the lawsuit before the trial in which the parties exchange relevant documents and take depositions (i.e. interview witnesses who may be called to testify at trial).

Again, if you are a party to this case or if your rights may be affected by it, you should consult a competent attorney in your jurisdiction immediately.
posted by jedicus at 12:51 PM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

Adding: The case was initially assigned to district court judge Dolly M. Gee. It was then temporarily assigned to a magistrate judge, Judge Fernando Olguin, to handle the discovery stage.
posted by mikeand1 at 12:53 PM on February 20, 2012

Adding again: The docket report is a sort of chronological narrative of the events that have occurred in the case. If you log into PACER, you can download many of the underlying documents associated with a given event, e.g. a judge's order, or a party's motion and supporting brief.
posted by mikeand1 at 12:56 PM on February 20, 2012

It is a filed court case. Bikrams Yoga is the plaintiff, the party suing, and is seeking relief based on alleged bad behavior (like copyright and trademark infringement) by defendants. The specific allegation are in the complaint, which is the document that starts a civil law suit. So far it looks as though the defendants haven't formally answered, ie responded to, the complaint. But the docket is only through October per your second link. If there still hasn't been an answer by now, plaintiff can successfully seek a default order and judgment.

I think you should be able to track progress of this case via the court file. This is a federal court case, so I'd expect the court documents to be accessible electronically. Check the court's website (US District Court, Central District of California) for more about how to view the court files.

If you have a personal or peculiarly interest in this case, I'd strongly suggest retaining a lawyer.
posted by bearwife at 12:58 PM on February 20, 2012

You may also be interested in the New Yorker article that mentions this case.
posted by ewiar at 12:16 AM on February 22, 2012

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