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Apple denies foreknowledge of jury foreman's Seagate suit

updated 11:34 am EST, Sun December 2, 2012

Velvin Hogan accused of misconduct, bias by Samsung

In a filing with Judge Lucy Koh on Friday, Apple claims to have had no knowledge of the landmark patent trial jury foreman's lawsuit with former employer Seagate Technology. Samsung demanded Apple report when it first learned about the litigation in the early '90s in an attempt to at least partially overturn the verdict by convincing the judge that Velvin Hogan acted improperly during both jury selection and deliberations.

Jury Foreman Velvin Hogan was hired by Seagate in the '80s. As a result of the hiring, he was required to move from his extant home in Colorado to Seagate's location in California. Seagate agreed to split the cost of the mortgage on the Colorado home. Hogan was a victim of layoffs in the early nineties, and Seagate claimed that Hogan needed to repay the mortgage money to the hard drive manufacturer. Hogan sued Seagate for fraud in 1993 with a countersuit filed by Seagate, ultimate forcing Hogan to file for personal bankruptcy to protect his home.

Apple says that the information given by the jury during selection in July was sufficient to determine if there would be any misconduct by the jurors based on prejudice from prior court cases. Patent analyst Florian Mueller believes that "It's pretty clear that Samsung only took issue with the jury after it received a verdict that it understandably doesn't like."

Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b)(2)(A) allows an exception if "extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury's attention," but the foreman's prior legal involvement with Seagate seemingly has very little to do with Samsung's current circumstances, so proving that Hogan provided the extraneous prejudicial information will be difficult at best.

Samsung claims to have a "substantial strategic relationship" with Seagate, and the foreman's failure to disclose the suit suggests that he was striving to secure a seat on the jury in an attempt to sway the jury and secure a verdict against Samsung.

"Apple has not identified any Apple attorney or other member of the Apple litigation teams who was aware that Mr. Hogan had been a party to lawsuits involving Seagate until after the conclusion of trial, when Samsung raised the matter in connection with its post-trial motions," Apple reported to Judge Koh. Apple attorneys believe that the failure to discover Hogan's lawsuit with Samsung pre-trial lies with Samsung, not itself.

"If Apple knew that Mr. Hogan's statements were untruthful all along and stood silent in order to gain a tactical advantage from the seating of a biased juror, Apple's misconduct would itself warrant sanction and relief and certainly must be disclosed," Samsung's attorneys claimed, despite repeated misconduct both before and during the trial. "Apple cannot fault Samsung for not discovering juror untruthfulness while refusing to disclose whether and when Apple itself discovered this untruthfulness," Samsung said in an October 30 filing.

The case was brought by Apple after Samsung ignored warnings in 2010 from both the iPhone maker and its rival Google that Samsung's products were too derivative of Apple's designs in both trade dress and software. Apple has accused the company of "slavishly" copying from its innovations, down to the particular shade of green used in the identical "phone" icon.

Samsung countersued Apple, claiming it had in fact infringed on two of Samsung's patents, for which it asked for $400 million in compensation. The claims from Samsung were wholly rejected, and the company was awarded nothing. Another jury trial on different patent matters which spawned the sales injunctions on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus smartphone between the two giants is likely to take place in the spring of 2014.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-28-08

    Isn't the burden of proof on Samsung? Their very aggressive lawyers screwed up by not finding this out. What on earth makes Samsung think Apple knew but by some magical happenstance they (Samsung) couldn't?
    Samsung, like Romney's people, thought they were going to win. They didn't. Unlike Romney, Samsung is crying, and not all the way to the bank. Will it teach Samsung a lesson? Probably only reverting to "Don't get caught again!'

  1. Hans van den Br

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-02-12

    Wouldn't it be the other way around? 'Samsung claims to have a "substantial strategic relationship" with Seagate," so it's very likely, the Korean weapon manufacturers knew all along about Hogan's Seagate past, and used this knowledge to sabotage the trial. If they didn't lose (winning was almost impossible), no problem with Hogan. If they lost, accuse Hogan of being biased, and try to nullify the trial. And that's exactly what's going on.

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