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Samsung alleges juror misconduct in Apple trial

Wants the verdict thrown out and another trial
Wed Oct 03 2012, 12:07

KOREAN HARDWARE GIANT Samsung would like to get the billion dollar jury verdict against it in the recent Apple v. Samsung trial thrown out, alleging that the jury foreman committed misconduct during jury selection and deliberations.

Unredacted court documents show that Samsung alleges that the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan was not open about his interest in the case during jury selection. Samsung alleges that Hogan harboured a grudge against Seagate, a company in which Samsung is a major investor.

According to the documents published by Groklaw, Seagate sued Hogan in the early 1990s. However, he didn't reveal this when he was questioned during jury voir dire.

"The jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, failed to answer truthfully.... He disclosed one such lawsuit but failed to disclose two others, including one in which he was sued by his former employer, Seagate, for breach of contract after he failed to repay a promissory note," says one document.

"Samsung has a substantial strategic relationship with Seagate.... Mr. Hogan's failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore in questioning and that would have triggered a motion to strike for cause or a peremptory strike."

Hogan has defended his position, telling Businessweek that he saw his role on the jury as an honour and claiming that he was very forthcoming. He said that he did not mention the Seagate lawsuit because he thought it fell outside of the applicable timeframe.

"Had I been asked an open-ended question with no time constraint, of course I would've disclosed that," he said.

"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."

However Samsung has alleged that it went further than that, and accused the foreman of improperly introducing erroneous legal doctrines in jury deliberations.

"Mr. Hogan's self-reported conduct during the jury deliberations presents the 'reasonable possibility' that extraneous material 'could have affected the verdict'," it said.

Specifically, Samsung alleged, "In post-verdict interviews with the media, Mr. Hogan said that he told his fellow jurors an accused device infringes a design patent based on 'look and feel' [...], that an accused device infringes a utility patent unless it is 'entirely different' [...], that a prior art reference could not be invalidating unless that reference was 'interchangeable' [...], and that invalidating prior art must be currently in use [...]."

It argued, "These incorrect and extraneous legal standards had no place in the jury room."

The jury verdict awarded Apple roughly $1bn in damages. Samsung asked the court to hold an evidentiary hearing, overturn the verdict and order another trial with a new jury.

We have asked both Samsung and Apple to comment. µ


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