Samsung has asked Judge Lucy Koh to throw out the patent infringement verdict that saw Apple awarded more than $1 billion in damages this summer and order a new trial. The Korean electronics giant claims that the foreman of the jury, 67-year-old Velvin Hogan, is guilty of misconduct after he failed to answer the court’s questions truthfully and did not disclose a potential conflict of interest.
Hogan was selected as jury foreman because he has “served on more juries and knew more about patents than anyone else in the jury room,” according to a Fortune report. But Samsung isn’t happy that Hogan was part of the jury at all.
Hogan, Samsung claims:
- Didn’t tell the judge he had been sued in 1993 by Seagate, a company with close ties to Samsung and Samsung’s legal team
- Didn’t disclose the personal bankruptcy he had to file as a result of that suit
- Made public statements after the verdict that suggest he failed to answer the court’s questions truthfully in order to “secure a seat on the jury.”
But there’s a strong possibility Samsung’s complaint is going to gain any kind of traction. Fortune points to a quote from Habeas Assistance and Training (HAT), a website for defense attorneys, which reads:
“There is hostility from courts, prosecutors and former jurors towards investigators and attorneys inquiring into and raising potential acts of jury misconduct. Thus, these claims are often difficult to litigate and are frequently controversial, striking at the heart of the American system of justice.”
HAT maintains a database of successful jury misconduct cases, including the categories, and it seems Samsung’s charges against Hogan would be categorized as “Dishonesty on Voir Dire,” which is lying about or not disclosing a relationship with a defendant or prosecutor. So is Hogan’s decision not to disclose his previous relationship with Seagate a case of misconduct?
Certainly not, as Hogan explains, the court asked jurors to disclose any litigation they were involved in within the last ten years. Hogan did that, but his 1993 business with Seagate was well outside of that time frame.
Hogan told Bloomberg News: “Had I been asked an open-ended question with no time constraint, of course I would’ve disclosed that. I answered every question the judge asked me”
Hogan also noted that Samsung “had every opportunity to question me.”
With regards to Samsung’s claims that Hogan lied to get a seat on the jury, he says he’s willing to sweat to the jury that he had no intention of serving on the jury. Hogan had one vote opposing his selection as jury foreman, and that was cast against himself.
It seems Samsung may be clutching at straws to find a way out of this case. As Hogan suggests, it’s almost as if the company “let me in the jury just to have an excuse for a new trial if it didn’t go in their favor.”