Justices' Order: Read This Brief
Supreme Court hands out rare assignment.
Sachs was so convinced that the court should consider the third option that he also asked the court for argument time, a long shot at best. The court almost never allows amici to argue, unless they represent federal, state or local government entities.
In his motion asking to appear before the court, Sachs said he wanted to present "a crucial issue that the parties would otherwise elide." He noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit had adopted the position he was espousing in Rivera v. Centro Médico de Turabo, a 2009 case. Lawyers for both sides opposed his motion.
W. Scott Hastings of Locke Lord's Dallas office, representing Atlantic Marine, asserted that Sachs' alternative had not been addressed by the courts below. "Accordingly, that issue is not before the court, and should be reserved for a future day," Hastings wrote.
On the other side, William Allensworth of Allensworth & Porter in Austin, Texas, said Sachs' participation "would serve only to distract the court" with a "novel approach" that is not properly before the court.
Allensworth represents J-Crew Management Inc., Atlantic Marine's adversary in the contract dispute. Atlantic, a federal contractor based in Virginia Beach, Va., hired J-Crew to build a day-care center at Fort Hood in Texas. A disagreement over payments prompted J-Crew to file a suit in the federal court for the Western District of Texas, even though their contract specified that disputes be litigated in state or federal court in Norfolk, Va., near Atlantic's headquarters.
After Atlantic's motion to transfer the case to Norfolk was denied, the company filed a writ of mandamus, which names the Texas federal court as defendant.
The Supreme Court's order denied Sachs' request for argument time, but telling the parties to be prepared to discuss his brief is the next best thing. "I'm just very gratified that the court thought my brief was worth addressing," Sachs said.
Contact Tony Mauro at firstname.lastname@example.org.