Larry Ellison's latest job: jury foreman

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By Dan Levine | April 27, 2011 5:00 AM EST

Larry Ellison is famous for wanting to be in charge, so perhaps it is no surprise that when jury duty came calling, Oracle's chief executive served as the foreman.

And for a woman who slipped in diesel fuel at a Northern California Ford dealership, Ellison's public service may have helped her secure a judgment for nearly $500,000.

In running Oracle, the world's number one business database provider, Ellison has proven a willing plaintiff. Oracle sued SAP AG for copyright infringement and won a $1.3 billion verdict last year. SAP is challenging the outcome.

Oracle is also engaged in a high profile fight against Google over patents for the Java programing language. A trial could come as early as October.

But it was a far less complex legal matter that took Ellison's time last month, landing him in the jury box during earnings season. The flamboyant billionaire sat through a slip-and-fall case brought by Elisa Miramontes and her husband against a dealership in Half Moon Bay, California.

Miramontes said she exited her vehicle and slipped on diesel fuel on the pavement, suffering injuries, according to her lawsuit.

After a few days of trial in a state court in San Mateo County, the jury awarded $300,000 for medical damages, plus additional economic loss and pain and suffering awards, according to a court clerk. The total judgment for the Miramontes couple, formally entered last week, came to just over $472,000.

An attorney representing the defendant declined to discuss the case on Tuesday, and an attorney for the Miramontes couple did not respond to messages.

As for Ellison's thoughts on seeing the legal system from a different vantage point? He declined to comment through an Oracle spokeswoman.

The case in Superior Court for the State of California, County of San Mateo is Elisa Miramontes, Donald Miramontes v. James Ford Inc., CIV 490631.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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