Last week, Google settlement Judge Denny Chin, newly seated to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, issued a minor order in the recent lawsuit filed by visual artists against Google, to which he is also assigned. The order itself, listed on the New York Law School-run site devoted to the Settlement with publishers and authors, The Public Index, is inconsequential, merely granting a short extension for Google to reply to the artists’ complaint to May 21, 2010. But that Chin ruled at all may be a tantalizing sign that the Google settlement could stay with Chin despite his recent promotion.

Minor procedural orders, like the extension Chin recently granted, are the kind of thing the judge would most likely shed if his intention was to pass on the photographers case, and, if this is a sign that Chin will keep the photographers’ case, Chin would almost certainly keep the Google settlement as well, the case from which the artists’ suit stems. "This tells us nothing about when to expect a ruling or how he will rule,” NYLS' James Grimmelmann told PW, referring to the Google settlement, “but it is a tell that the decision is more likely to bear Chin's name.”

Chin’s future with the Google settlement, over which he presided through the February 18 fairness hearing, as well as his future with the visual artists’ case against Google, has been a source of speculation since he was approved to take a seat on the Second Circuit in April.