On August 24, at about 2:45 PM, PST, a jury of nine found Samsung Electronics guilty of infringing on a number of Apple, Inc.’s patents. The news was both unexpected and unprecedented. Apple won more than one billion dollars in damages from the Korean-based company. Samsung’s countersuits were all denied.
Obviously, Samsung’s lawyers immediately began searching for a way to overturn the verdict. Any good lawyer would. It appears they may have found something that could sway the judge to call a mistrial.
According to Bloomberg News, Samsung requested the U.S. verdict to be thrown out because the jury foreman failed to disclose a lawsuit that they claim could have affected the outcome.
Samsung claimed that, when asked if he had been involved in any past lawsuits, foreman Velvin Hogan did not tell the court about a 1993 breech of conduct lawsuit filed by his former employer Seagate.
Additionally, the lawyer on behalf of Seagate that filed the lawsuit against Hogan is married to an attorney who works for the firm that represented Samsung in the U.S. trial. Had the Korean-based tech company known about this information, they claim the jury selection may have gone differently.
The motion request states that Hogan’s failure to disclose the Seagate suit “raises issues of bias that Samsung should have been allowed to explore in questioning and that would have triggered a motion to strike for cause or a peremptory strike.”
In a phone interview with Hogan, Bloomberg said that the court instructions for potential jurors required them to disclose lawsuits dating back 10 years. He claimed the 1993 lawsuit fell outside of that time period.
“Had I been asked an open-ended question with no time constraint, of course I would’ve disclosed that,” Hogan said, referring to the related litigation. “I’m willing to go in front of the judge to tell her that I had no intention of being on this jury, let alone withholding anything that would’ve allowed me to be excused.”
However, part of the transcript, as published by Groklaw, shows that Samsung’s lawyers did not specify a time frame.
“THE COURT: okay. Welcome back. Please take a seat. We had a few more departures in your absence. Let’s continue with the questions. The next question is, have you or a family member or someone very close to you ever been involved in a lawsuit, either as a plaintiff, a defendant, or as a witness?”
Hogan told Bloomberg that Samsungs request caused him to wonder whether the company had let him stay on the jury just to have an excuse for a mistrial. He also claimed that he was the only dissenting vote in the jury’s decision to find Samsung guilty of infringement.
On the surface, it might seem that Samsung is grasping for anything to stop the billion-dollar suit from sticking. However, the transcripts from the trial don’t seem to coincide with Hogan’s various interviews in which he makes statements that seem to be false. Samsung may get their mistrial after all.