Apple vs Samsung: ‘Juror misconduct’ claim rejected

David Price
19 December, 2012
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Samsung had originally complained about the behaviour of jury foreman Velvin Hogan. Samsung said Hogan failed to disclose a prior lawsuit he had been involved in that could have biased him against the company (he was sued by former employer Seagate, a partner of Samsung).

More seriously, Samsung said he used his previous experience of patent applications to guide the discussions of the jury in a way that was beyond his brief as foreman: that “an evidentiary hearing and a new trial are also warranted based on Mr. Hogan’s post-verdict interviews, which show that he introduced “incorrect and extraneous legal standards” to jury deliberations.”

Judge Koh, however, has now issued a judgement on the matters and turned down Samsung’s request for a new trial. On the matter of the Seagate litigation, Judge Koh said Samsung’s legal team could have found this out for themselves:

2. Lack of Reasonable Diligence: Samsung asserts that Mr. Hogan’s dishonesty during voir dire “prejudicial[ly] impair[ed] [its] right to the exercise of peremptory challenge.” Motion at 2 (internal quotations and citations omitted). Apple argues, and the Court agrees, that waiver is appropriate here because of Samsung’s lack of reasonable diligence in investigating Mr. Hogan’s relationship with Seagate.”

Judge Koh’s ruling on the question of “incorrect and extraneous legal standards” relates to rules protecting the jury’s deliberative process: essentially, there is a good faith rule that it is presumed that juries are following the court’s instructions, and that evidence from jurors themselves will only be considered in determining if this has not occurred in exceptional circumstances.

“Samsung argues that Mr. Hogan’s post-verdict interviews show that he introduced “incorrect and erroneous legal standards” pertaining to infringement and invalidity issues… Mr. Hogan gave several post-verdict interviews in which he recounted the legal standards that were utilized during deliberations to enable the jury to reach a verdict… These statements, however, all pertain to what occurred during jury deliberations, or to the jurors’ mental processes – evidence specifically barred by Rule 606(b).

“Samsung does not argue that Mr. Hogan introduced any outside knowledge specific to the facts of this case. Even if the standards related by Mr. Hogan were completely erroneous, those statements would still be barred by Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) and cannot be considered in deciding whether to hold an evidentiary hearing.”

If that’s whetted your appetite, read the full ruling here.

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