Last week, Judge Essex issued a notice updating his ground rules in active investigations pending before him.  The substantive changes to the rules are:

  • Ground Rule 8.1 now limits pre-hearing briefs to no more than 200 pages with attachments not exceeding 50 pages. Previous versions of Judge Essex’ Ground Rules had no page limits on pre-hearing briefs;
  • Ground Rule 10.2 limits opening arguments, if permitted, to 20 minutes for each party.


While most practitioners likely will not mind Judge Essex’s time limit for opening arguments, the new page limits on pre-hearing briefs may have an impact on trial strategy.  Pre-hearing briefs are usually voluminous because parties to Section 337 investigations are generally required to preserve in their pre-hearing briefs all arguments that may be presented at trial.  In light of these new rules, parties participating in investigations before Judge Essex may need to pare down and focus their cases on the best arguments before drafting their prehearing brief.