Apple-Samsung judge considers possible juror misconduct
By John Ribeiro
The judge who presided over the patent litigation between Apple and Samsung Electronics said she will consider Samsung’s concern that the foreman of the jury had concealed relevant information.
A jury in California decided in August that the South Korean company must pay Apple US$1.05 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets.
Samsung has, however, asked for a new trial of the case, alleging that the foreman of the jury, Velvin Hogan, was untruthful and biased. In the voir dire, a court procedure of questioning prospective jurors for potential bias, Hogan did not mention that he had been sued by his former employer, Seagate, for breach of contract after he failed to repay a promissory note in 1993 and filed for bankruptcy six months later, according to the filing on October 2.
Samsung has a “substantial strategic relationship with Seagate,” and is the single largest direct shareholder of the hard drive manufacturer after selling it a business division last year, it said in the filing.
On October 30, Samsung filed a motion to compel Apple to disclose the circumstances and timing of Apple’s discovery of certain information regarding the jury foreman.
Judge Lucy H. Koh of the District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, wrote in her order on Thursday that the court will consider the questions “of whether the jury foreperson concealed information during voir dire, whether any concealed information was material, and whether any concealment constituted misconduct.”
“An assessment of such issues is intertwined with the question of whether and when Apple had a duty to disclose the circumstances and timing of its discovery of information about the foreperson,” Judge Koh wrote.
The court will address Samsung’s motion to compel at a December 6 hearing. If the court grants the motion, it will likely order supplemental briefing before ruling on Samsung’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, Koh said.
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