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Samsung's Bid for a New Trial Raises 'Jury Misconduct' Issue as Well As Time Crunch
Just as predicted, Samsung just appealed to the U.S. courts to have their lost case against Apple overturned in a bid for a new trial. The two primary issues they raised are jury misconduct and unfair time constraints Here's a quote with a few details on the jury misconduct,
Their primary argument of jury misconduct comes from the several post-trial interviews that were conducted with jury foreman Velvin Hogan, in which he indirectly implied that he used his previous experience with patents to influence the jury. In fact, another juror, named Manuel Ilagan who was also interviewed after the trial, basically confirmed this. He indicated that Hogan used his understanding of the process to guide the jury. Here's a quote from Ilagan, "Hogan was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents himself...so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier."
Samsung is alleging juror misconduct in new court filings asking a federal judge to throw out Apple's billion-dollar jury verdict and allow a new trial.
In a flurry of court documents, Samsung's attorneys list a series of cases, including ones that federal courts in California must follow, in which juror misconduct prompted a new trial. Their apparent argument: interviews that jurors in the landmark case gave to news organizations provide evidence of misconduct serious enough to have influenced the verdict.
What is especially troubling about this is that Velvin Hogan was specifically instructed by Judge Lucy Koh not to do this. She also specifically told jurors that they must "decide the case solely on the evidence before you." Here's another quote from the article with more details,
Even though this appears to be a fairly strong argument for Samsung, it is going to be an uphill battle to get this verdict overturned. U.S. courts generally loath post-verdict probes into jury deliberations, so Samsung will have to make a convincing argument. Brian Love, a law professor at Santa Clara University who followed the trial had this to say, "I think it's going to be a little tough [to overturn the verdict because of allegations of jury misconduct]. You're looking for material or something else coming in that wasn't introduced at trial, a juror reading reports about the case and they're being influenced by outside forces."
Another newly-filed Samsung document -- this one was highlighted by the venerable anti-software patent site Groklaw.net -- includes a transcript (PDF) from when the judge asked juror Velvin Hogan, a video recording patent holder, if he will apply the law as instructed "and not based on your understanding of the law based on your own cases." Hogan -- who became the jury's foreman -- replied that he could.
Still, Samsung is not hanging their hat solely on this argument, but their second idea seems a bit weaker. They are also arguing that the Judge in the case didn't give them enough time to prepare for trial. Here's one more quote explaining it,
Let's keep our fingers crossed that some level-headed judge in the appeals process will come to the conclusion that something was wonky.
Besides the jury factor, one of Samsung's chief complaints in its filing is that the two companies simply did not have time to make their cases. Both companies were given 25 hours of court time for testimony and cross examination. Samsung burned through much of its time cross-examining Apple's witnesses, effectively making it rush through its side.
"The court's constraints on trial time, witnesses and exhibits were unprecedented for a patent case of this complexity and magnitude, and prevented Samsung from presenting a full and fair case in response to Apple's many claims," Samsung's new trial request reads.
Judge Koh may disagree with that point. Near the end of the proceedings, the judge chided Samsung for its strategy and warned not to file anything about not having enough time.
"Samsung made a strategic decision to use more time to cross examine," Koh told the two companies last month. "I am not going to allow the parties to file something that says you were unable to file, because you made a strategic decision."
09-25-2012 12:00 PM