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Sail away

Is Senior U.S. District Court Judge James Fox of Wilmington dreaming of the fully retired life?

Fox begs to differ, but an order he wrote in a constructive fraud case leads Sidebar to wonder if he’s contemplating a life away from the bench. In the order in Trana Discovery v. Southern Research Institute, Fox makes several references to sailing and, possibly, fishing.

“Despite the heretofore smooth sailing, troubled waters lay ahead,” he wrote. He later added, “The shoals that would finally sink the collaboration were revealed almost two years later.”

He also said that the plaintiff appeared to have been “searching for a hook on which to hang its claim. Regardless, Trana will not find such a hook in its claim for constructive fraud.”

Fox wasn’t interested in talking with Sidebar, but his law clerk, Ryan Fairchild, said the semi-retired judge has no intention of fully retiring at the moment. He added that Fox and his wife were avid sailors.

In fact, they had a sailboat for 25 years and during that time they logged enough miles on their sailing adventures to have circumnavigated the world one and a half times, according to Fairchild.

A savvy lawyer might consider making a few nautical references of his or her own while arguing in front of Fox – assuming that the judge doesn’t set sail for the high seas any time soon.


– Phillip Bantz




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