Little did AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) know that its chance of saving $40 million slipped away in 30 days. An appeals court ruled out that the phone company’s deadline to appeal a jury has passed and that it has to pay out $27 million along with the interest to Two-Way Media LLC for infringing the latter’s technology.
Faulty docket or lawyers’ mistake
A jury verdict was passed against AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), which was found guilty of using Two-Way’s patented technology for tracking what users watch on streaming videos. However, the trouble began when AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) received a faulty court notice, according to which, it was given a nod to overturn the jury verdict. But actually the trial judge had mentioned otherwise, leaving just 30-days time in the hands of the company to approach appeals court. Unfortunately, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s lawyers were not notified when the docket entry was corrected, and it took 51 days for the lawyers to realize that the time has passed long back.
The company argued that the faulty docket entry should be considered as excusable neglect, but the U.S. Court of Appeals did not budge on its decision and preferred to stay with the order of the trial judge. The appeals court said that nearly 18 lawyers and assistants were given information about the deadline to appeal to the court. The panel dismissed the company’s plea stating that its multiple counsel failed to read the underlying orders, specifications or even crosscheck the docket for corrections or separate rulings.
The court ruling comes as a big shock to the phone company, which will now be paying the price for its lawyers’ default. Both AT&T, as well as the counsel, remained silent on the issue. The shares of the company fell 1.16% to $33.20 during the previous day’s trading session.