July 22, 2013
On February 20, 2013, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Gunn v. Minton. The question in this is case is whether federal courts have exclusive “arising under” jurisdiction over a legal malpractice case--ordinarily a state matter--where the sole substantive issue is the application of a patent law doctrine that is an essential element of the underlying legal malpractice claim.
In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court held unanimously that the plaintiff’s malpractice case did not “arise under” federal patent law, and that federal law therefore did not deprive state courts of jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s legal malpractice case. The contrary decision of the Supreme Court of Texas was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.
To discuss the case, we have Erin Hawley, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law.