Samsung says Apple patent verdict was tainted because of jury foreman’s misconduct

by: J. Angelo RacomaOctober 4, 2012

Apple scored a big win over Samsung this August, when a California district court ruled in favor of the Cupertino company in its patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The Korean company was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages for having infringed on Apple’s patents and diluted its “trade dress.” However, Samsung is still seeking other legal remedies, among these trying to shoot down the jury’s decision because of juror misconduct.

In a request to dismiss the verdict, Samsung says that jury foreman Velvin Hogan failed to disclose his bankruptcy filing in 1993, and the fact that he was sued by hard drive-maker Seagate, his former employer.

It may sound far-fetched initially, but here’s where the bias might come from. Samsung says it has a “substantial strategic relationship” with Seagate. Meanwhile, the lawyer who sued Hogan is married to one of the lawyers who represented Samsung in the Apple vs. Samsung trial. As such, Samsung says Mr. Hogan, as foreman, may have been influenced by these relationships in leading the jury to decide against the defendant.

“Mr. Hogan’s failure to disclose the Seagate suit raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore,” said the company in a statement, suggesting that Hogan may have not been very truthful in answering court questions in order to “secure a seat on the jury.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, though, Hogan downplayed the accusations, saying that the court only requires potential jurors to disclose litigation in the past 10 years, saying that the bankruptcy case and Seagate litigation fell outside of this time period. Mr. Hogan was chosen as the jury foreman partly on the basis of his prior experience with patents, having obtained his own patent on “video compression software” for a hobby of his.

Hogan likewise wonders whether Samsung allowed him on the jury “just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.” He said he agreed to take part in jury duty and even “took it as an honor” due to the lawsuit’s relevance to his being an electrical engineer, his profession for the past four decades.

Samsung has not responded to Mr. Hogan’s statements, as of writing.

Do the juror’s past lawsuits and relationships with the aforesaid parties warrant bias? Or is Samsung making a last-ditch attempt that is not likely to hold water?

  • It’s pretty valid grounds for bias but whether it holds up is another story. See: that “fair” trial.

  • They should hold significant weight… “Especially since his own statement of “just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.” Hints at the fact he is biased in the matter. Any juror without a bias would have acknowledged the connections and offered some explanation on the connections other than just being immediately defensive. His immediate actions suggest he was influenced by his past dealings with other tech giants and may have wanted to “stick it to them” as a result. No judge without a bias themselves in the matter would be very concerned about the connections.

    • MasterMuffin

      True, that reaction wans’t the kind of reaction that a neutral man would have about this!

  • hohopig

    Mmm actually the foreman’s misconduct goes beyond that

  • Perry Ahern

    Regarding his statement that he was only asked about lawsuits that happened in the past 10 years, the actual trial transcript shows that the question was open ended (“ever”) and that the judge and lawyers wanted to know about all past lawsuits.

  • Droidfan

    Really, this stuff pales in comparison to what he actually did as the Foreman. Check out these two sites.. and … He basically convinced the other jurors to ignore the instructions Judge Koh issued to insure a proper decision in the case. Jurors have reported that some saw prior art, but they got “bogged down” in deliberation. Vel Hogan had an “ah Ha” moment were he convinced himself and the other jurors to decide this as if they were in the shoes of the parties….despite instructions not to do that. Further, he is quoted after the trial…that the jurors felt compelled to “slap” Samsung hard enough to be sure other companies would get the message. Despite the fact that a successful complainant can not be awarded punitive damage. Only what is necessary to make his loss whole. Finally, there is significant doubt the jurors actually applied the Judge’s instructions included in a 109 page document covering 80+ questions. By every credible source…the juror could not have used the Judge’s instructions as they applied to the various infringement counts…in the short deliberation time available to them.