Federal District Judge Lucy Koh will consider the allegations that a jury foreman in the Apple vs Samsung case, Velvin Hogan, "concealed information" during the jury selection process and whether this resulted in misconduct.
The matter will be looked into by Judge Koh during a hearing scheduled for 6 December, which will require Apple to disclose what information the company's lawyers knew about the jury foreman.
In an attempt to get the $1bn verdict against it kicked out, Samsung is claiming that Hogan did not disclose history of his former employer Seagate Technology, which is part-owned by Samsung, and a 1993 lawsuit involving the company and Hogan.
When asked during the voir dire stage of jury selection (discussing potential juror biases) Hogan admitted to one lawsuit in 2008 that he had been involved in, where a former employee of his filed against him after his company "went belly up", but he failed to mention the case between himself and Seagate
That case revolved around around Seagate demanding Hogan repay payments on his mortgage that Seagate had assisted him with, and ultimately caused Hogan and his wife to file for bankruptcy.
Samsung's lawyers said last month: "Mr 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 peremptory strike."
Samsung added that Hogan didn't disclose how pro-patent he was when asked if he had "strong feelings" about the US patent system. The South Korean phone maker has also requested an additional hearing with all the other jurors because "his conduct during voir dire and jury deliberations must be fully examined," and argues that the only solution is a new trial.
In his defense, Hogan told Bloomberg that he had been asked to disclose litigation in the last 10 years, and with the Seagate case happening in 1993, it did not need to be mentioned.
Hogan said: "Had I been asked an open-ended questions with no times constraint, of course I would've disclosed that," adding: "I answered every question the judge asked me...[Samsung] had every opportunity to question me."
Judge Koh's order is as follows:
"One 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.
"As 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."
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