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Samsung Seeks New Trial, Accuses Foreman Hogan Of Implied Bias

In it’s motion for a new trial Samsung has made some shocking discoveries about it’s legal battle with Apple in the US. We got to know about it due to judges order to file it unsealed. Samsung has presented evidences and accessed the foreman Velvin Hogan of “implied bias” and of tainting the process by introducing extraneous “evidence” of his own during jury deliberations, all of which calls, Samsung writes, for an evidentiary hearing and a new trial with an unbiased jury as the cure.

In it’s filing Samsung’s request new trial citing Dyer v. Calderon (9th Cir. 1998) case.

A new trial is warranted based on a finding of implied bias if a juror “lies materially and repeatedly in response to legitimate inquiries,” and a court should “presume bias where a juror lies in order to secure a seat on the jury.”

Samsung says that Hogan ‘failed to answer truthfully during voir dire when asked by the Court whether “you or a family member or someone very close to you [has] ever been involved in a lawsuit, either as a plaintiff, a defendant, or as a witness?”

Hogan did disclose one lawsuit but not the two others. One of these undisclosed lawsuit involved the tech company Seagate. The short story is  Hogan was once hired by Seagate and he moved from Colorado to California. Seagate, Hogan claims, agreed to split the cost of paying off the mortgage on his Colorado home. Hogan’s employment was terminated and according to the agreement he was required to pay the remaining cost. Upon failing to do so there was a court case. Seagate said in its filing:

On or about April 19, 1992, defendant breached the agreement by the following acts: Failure to repay plaintiff the principal sum of $25,000.00, together with accrued interest thereon, within 270 days of defendant’s termination of employment with plaintiff which occurred on or about July 19, 1991.

Hogan, instead of paying the sum back to Seagate, filed for personal bankruptcy and avoided the payment. As Groklaw points out , “That’s a strange way to get a house. Of course he owed more than $25,000 on the house in California he had bought, and looking at the forms, it looks like that debt to a company named Corstan is also listed in the bankruptcy.”

The question arises why would Seagate case make Hogan hostile towards Samsung? There is a connection. Samsung saved Seagate last year by purchasing its hard drive unity and also became one of the largest direct shareholder of the company.

Second questions arises how Samsung learned about this case when Hogan never disclosed it? Coincidental, Seagate’s attorney, invoked in that case, is married to a Quinn Emanuel partner, the law firm representing Samsung!

Sounds like a perfect Hollywood drama.

Samsung says in its filing 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.”

Why did not Hogan disclose this case? He claims that he didn’t mention the 1993 Seagate case or bankruptcy in the jury selection process because he wasn’t asked specifically to disclose every case he’d ever been involved in.

Wasn’t asked specifically? The court asked whether “you or a family member or someone very close to you [has] ever been involved in a lawsuit, either as a plaintiff, a defendant, or as a witness?”

Palmela Jones of Groklaw  says, “If he was on a crusade to get back at Seagate/Samsung, he might logically not wish to reveal this litigation, knowing he’d likely be cut from the jury. One has to wonder if he always tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Did he fail to answer fully and truthfully because he was so eager to be on the jury? If he had revealed the Seagate issue, no doubt Samsung would have objected to him being on the jury. As Samsung points out, there is a case, United States v. Colombo [PDF], that held that “A juror’s failure to answer truthfully also may constitute a ‘prejudicial impairment’ of a party’s ‘right to the exercise of peremptory challenges.’” So Samsung was robbed of that opportunity.”

Beyond this there have been several irregularities in this case

Hogan seems to be a pro-patent guy as he himself foght for over six years to get a patent on someothing as obvious as “method and apparatus for recording and storing video information.” Did Hogan have a bias towards patents (and thus sympathy for Apple) and used his own experience and knowlegde to influence the jury? He himself admitted in an interview, “I had what we would call an a-ha moment and I suddenly decided I could defend this if it was my patent… “

Hogan is also accused of not understanding prior art and influencing the jury members that case of prior art doesn’t apply on Apple patents. He aha moment again, as he told to the press:

The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there.

This clearly indicates that not only he doesn’t understand prior art but also influenced the jury in Apple’s favour ignoring teh court instructions.

Palmela Jones of Groklaw concludes, “If Hogan was on a mission to get back at Seagate, obviously that could tie in to why he felt so urgent about coming up with an aha moment, after the first day’s deliberations when he felt, or so he told the media, that the jury was going to go Samsung’s way. I think you can see how these two issues could indeed be related to the verdict. I don’t know if they are or not; nor do I know if the judge will find it so. But I know she ought to have a hearing to get to the bottom of it. My question, I confess, is will answers to questions be truthful? I suppose that is why Samsung says the only real cure is a new trial.”

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This court case now looks more messy than Apple Maps on iOS 6!

Slideshow Image:
Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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