SteveKimLaw's Comments on recent Court Docket Updates
As the settlement Judge, Magistrate Judge Leonard solicits and becomes privy to confidential information from each side that is not to be shared with the other. For example, their bottom line settlement positions. Magistrate Judge Leonard also meets with and discusses the merits of the action with each party separately. Because of this unique function, it is most common for the settlement judge assigned to a case to be excluded from any decisionmaking in the case, for obvious reasons. This is the reason that Magistrate Judge Leonard recused himself from any further decisionmaking, and Magistrate Judge Miller has been appointed to take over the role of hearing procedural motions.
Shouldn't cause any delays at all. The trial is set before Judge (not Magistrate Judge) Jackson. Judge Jackson is a full blown Article III Federal Judge. This is just a fancy way of saying that he was appointed by the President, went through confirmation hearings, and has a lifetime appointment. Magistrate Judges on the other hand, are generally appointed to sit by the Article III judges, and procedural types of motions are generally assigned to them in civil cases (although the parties can and frequently do consent to have their cases tried before a Magistrate Judge). That's why you see orders in the docket from Judge Jackson assigning various motions and conferences to be handled by the Magistrate Judges.
Judge Jackson is "the man" in this case. He decided the substantive motions in the case (the Markman decisions, the MSJ), and he presided over the parties' pretrial conference yesterday. the Magistrate Judges play an important role in the process, but shuffling them has no impact on the trial date. http://seekingalpha.com/author/stevekimlaw/comments
Court Docket updates (09/10/2012-10/10/2012) https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByyR-FelC5OTSjM1Um8yRFZubWM/edit