Telink, Inc. v. United States – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In Telink, Inc. v. United States, 24 F.3d 42 (9th Cir. 1994), the Ninth Circuit held that the district court properly dismissed a petition for writ of error coram nobis action attacking a criminal judgment.

The petitioner waited five years after a change in case law to file the petition. The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal, stating, "the petition is subject to the equitable doctrine of laches....Unlike a limitations period, which bars an action strictly by time lapse, laches bars a claim if unreasonable delay causes prejudice to the defendant." Telink, Inc., 24 F.3d at 45.

The Ninth Circuit further held that courts should use a "'flexible, equitable time limitation' based on laches," Id. at 47 (quoting United States v. Darnell, 716 F.2d 479, 480 (7th Cir. 1983)), and that courts are "free at any time to apply laches to a coram nobis petition, if the petitioner inexcusably delays in asserting his claims and the government is prejudiced by the delay." Telink, 24 F.3d at 47.