Samsung Claims Jury Foreman Misconduct Tainted Apple Case
Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s billion-dollar trial victory in August was tainted by the jury foreman’s failure to disclose a lawsuit and his personal bankruptcy, Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) said in a request for dismissal of the verdict.
Samsung said foreman Velvin Hogan was asked during jury selection whether he’d been involved in lawsuits and didn’t tell the judge that he had filed for bankruptcy in 1993 and had been sued by his former employer, Seagate Technology Inc.
Samsung has a “substantial strategic relationship” with Seagate and the lawyer who filed the complaint against Hogan is married to an attorney who works for the firm that represented Samsung in the trial against Apple, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a filing yesterday in federal court in San Jose, California.
“Mr. Hogan’s failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore,” Samsung said in its request for a new trial. The company also said Hogan’s public statements after the verdict suggest he failed to answer the court’s questions truthfully to “secure a seat on the jury.”
The Aug. 24 verdict is part of a global fight for dominance in the $219 billion global smartphone market. The world’s two biggest makers of high-end phones have accused each other of copying designs and technology for mobile devices and are waging patent battles on four continents.
“It is very hard to get a jury verdict thrown out for juror misconduct,” Mark Lemley, a Stanford Law School professor, said in an e-mail. “If he truthfully answered the questions he was asked, Samsung will have a hard time proving bias.”
Hogan, in a phone interview yesterday, denied that there was any misconduct, saying the court instructions for potential jurors required disclosure of any litigation they were involved in within the last 10 years -- and that the 1993 bankruptcy and related litigation involving Seagate fell well outside that time range.
“Had I been asked an open-ended question with no time constraint, of course I would’ve disclosed that,” Hogan said, referring to the bankruptcy and related litigation. “I’m willing to go in front of the judge to tell her that I had no intention of being on this jury, let alone withholding anything that would’ve allowed me to be excused.”
Hogan said once he was selected as a juror he “took it as an honor” because the suit was related to his job as an electrical engineer, which he’s done for almost 40 years.
“I answered every question the judge asked me” and Samsung “had every opportunity to question me,” Hogan said. He added that he’s surprised Samsung didn’t know about the history it’s now citing given the relationship the lawyer Samsung refers to in its filing has with another lawyer at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, the firm representing the company.
Hogan said yesterday’s filing has him wondering whether Samsung “let me in the jury just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.”
Susan Estrich, a Quinn Emanuel lawyer, wrote in an Oct. 1 filing that Apple demanded to know when Samsung’s lawyers learned of Seagate’s lawsuit involving Hogan. Samsung “did not know of Mr. Hogan’s undisclosed litigation against Seagate until after the verdict,” according to the filing.
Samsung said in a filing yesterday that Diane M. Doolittle, a partner in the Silicon Valley office of Quinn Emanuel, is married to Michael F. Grady, the attorney who filed the 1993 complaint against Hogan on behalf of Seagate. The lawsuit was a breach of contract claim over a loan Seagate said it to have made to Hogan for $25,000.
Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, declined to comment on Samsung’s filing.
Adam Yates, a spokesman in the U.S. for Samsung, didn’t respond to an e-mail yesterday seeking comment on Hogan’s remarks.
The nine-member panel reached a unanimous verdict in three days of deliberations following the trial. The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion after finding that Samsung infringed six of seven patents at issue. Apple is using the verdict to seek a permanent U.S. sales ban on eight Samsung smartphones and a tablet computer.
Hogan, who told the court he had served on three juries in civil cases, spent seven years working with lawyers to obtain his own patent covering “video compression software,” a hobby of his. He worked in the computer hard-drive industry for 35 years at companies including Memorex Corp., Colorado-based Storage Technology Corp. and Massachusetts-based Digital Equipment Corp.
Based in part on that experience, jurors elected him foreman, Hogan said in an interview in August. The only dissenting vote was his own, he said.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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