Persistent work on motions—and the untimely passing of an Illinois federal judge—has gotten Sears Holding Corp. and one of its tool makers out from under a $6 million patent infringement verdict.

Competitor LoggerHead Tools LLC had won the judgment against Sears and Apex Tool Group Inc. in a May 2017 jury trial. But U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of Chicago, who presided following the death of Judge John Darrah in March 2017, ruled after trial that one of Darrah’s key claim constructions was erroneous and ordered a new trial.

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