Federal District Judge Lucy Koh will "consider the questions" of whether the jury foreman in Apple v. Samsung "concealed information" during the jury selection process and whether there was misconduct.
Koh said she will look into the matter during a December 6 hearing. As part of her inquiry, Koh said she will require Apple to disclose what information the company's lawyers knew about the jury foreman.
Samsung is trying to get the $1 billion patent judgment that a San Jose, Calif. jury awarded Apple in August thrown out. Apple filed suit against Samsung last year claiming the South Korea-based company had ripped off some of the technology and designs that went into the iPad and iPhone. Samsung countersued, alleging Apple violated some of its patents.
After the verdict, Samsung alleged that it didn't receive a fair trial as a result of misconduct by the jury foreman.
Samsung argued that foreman Velvin Hogan didn't disclose during jury selection that he had been sued by Seagate, his former employer. Samsung said in court papers that Seagate and Samsung have a "substantial strategic relationship." The litigation with Seagate led Hogan to file for personal bankruptcy in 1993.
From Koh's order:
On October 30, 2012, Samsung filed a motion to compel Apple to disclose the circumstances and timing of Apple's discovery of certain information regarding the jury foreperson. On November 2, 2012, Apple filed an opposition. At the December 6, 2012 hearing, the Court will consider the questions of whether the jury foreperson concealed information during voir dire, whether any concealed information was material, and whether any concealment constituted misconduct. An assessment of such issues is intertwined with the question of whether and when Apple had a duty to disclose the circumstances and timing of its discovery of information about the foreperson.
Typically, it's hard to overturn a jury decision for alleged misconduct, say legal experts. U.S. law doesn't want lawyers trying to peek into the jury room.
Said Brian Love, a law professor at Santa Clara University who's followed the trial closely: "You're looking for material, something else coming in that wasn't introduced at trial; a juror reading reports about the case and [the jury] is being influenced by outside forces."
That wasn't the case with Hogan. During voir dire, when Koh asked prospective jurors if they were ever involved in a lawsuit, Hogan disclosed that he had, with a former partner.
In media interviews, Hogan has responded to Samsung's allegations by nothing that the judge didn't ask for a complete listing of all the lawsuits in which he had been involved.