Apple & Samsung Reach Deal to Hide Evidence Spoliation from Jury

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Apple Samsung Destroy Evidence

Following Monday morning’s news that the jury in the Apple and Samsung patent infringement trial would be informed prior to deliberations that both parties were guilty of destroying evidence, a new order, signed late Monday, will now prevent the jury from hearing anything regarding the matter, CNET reports. In a rare sign of cooperation between the two mobile device giants, attorneys from both sides reportedly negotiated the agreement at the last minute and Judge Lucy Koh, the trial’s presiding judge, approved it.

The issue over the spoliation of evidence began in late July, when a magistrate judge ruled that the jury would be informed that Samsung destroyed evidence relevant to the case before the trial, and that the jury was free to infer that all of the evidence that was destroyed was damaging to Samsung’s case.

Samsung responded by requesting that the jury be given a similar instruction that Apple destroyed evidence prior to the trial, as well. While there is some indication that Apple did indeed destroy evidence, including a surprising dearth of email evidence from Steve Jobs and other Apple executives on issues relevant to the trial, the judge ruled that the circumstances were not enough to grant Samsung’s request.

In a surprising move, Judge Koh overruled the magistrate judge’s decision late Sunday, and ordered that the jury would be informed that both sides destroyed evidence. Facing the possibility that the jury would be now prejudiced against Apple’s case on the merits, because the company would be seen as acting in bad faith too, its attorneys moved quickly to settle the matter with Samsung.

In American litigation, attorneys from both parties are free to submit proposals for the instructions that the jury will hear before it deliberates. The adverse party can object to proposed instructions and the judge will rule on which instructions will be read. In this case, both Apple and Samsung had originally requested the jury instruction against the other, and Judge Koh eventually approved both on Sunday.

Rather than face the possibility of having the credibility of both companies called into question, Apple and Samsung agreed that it was best to drop the matter entirely.

The patent trial between the two most important mobile device companies has been damaging to both sides as a multitude of confidential information has been dragged before the public. While the end of a trial is usually a relief for the parties involved, the complex nature of the issues in dispute and the stakes of the jury’s decision has the entire mobile device industry holding its breath.

Closing arguments for both sides are scheduled today, followed by jury instructions (omitting the evidence issue) and deliberations, which may last for several days considering the complexity of the accusations.

The only certainty that remains, regardless of the jury’s eventual determination, is that the lawyers from both sides will make a lot more money during the inevitable appeals.

Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Quick quote on how the dumlaut failed on this from Groklaw:

That means this is another failed prediction for FOSSPatents. Actually, three of them. First Florian Mueller wrote,1 when the magistrate issued the sanction against Samsung alone, that as a result Samsung now would have a credibility problem with the jury, which could be serious for Samsung. I corrected his misunderstanding of what was happening in this article, where you will find many more details. Mueller also called Samsung’s subsequent motion for an equal adverse inference instruction “ridiculous”, a motion “without merit”, and one he predicted the judge would deny.2

Today he wrote that there would be equal adverse inference instructions against both Apple and Samsung, calling it a “surprising” development, but opined that Apple “may very well” win on appeal on this point.3 He wrote too soon, probably thinking that the judge’s proposed order was final, missing the detail that the judge’s proposed jury instruction was subject to a conference today. You can’t appeal what you agreed to, as Apple did today.

jfbiii

How nice that you finally have a dog to kick, even by proxy.

Of course, 3 hardly counts, since we’ll never know if Apple could have won on appeal.

On the first, Samsung would have had a credibility problem with the jury if the judge hadn’t ultimately added Apple to the adverse interference instruction.

So really, out of three “points” you get credit for one. Well, partial credit, since you couldn’t even come up with it on your own. Truly, your record of punditry commentary is unparalleled at TMO.

daemon

Dear Jack F’in Bauer the third,

You know that was a direct quote from Groklaw, right? That Bosco didn’t write it?

jfbiii

1. Try looking up the word “proxy.”

2. Then parse the sentence, “Well, partial credit, since you couldn’t even come up with it on your own.”

3. Then figure out the meaning of the phrase “punditry commentary.”

Maybe then you’ll have enough information to figure out the the answers to your two queries.

RonMacGuy

Maybe then you?ll have enough information to figure out the the answers to your two queries.

Wow.  grin

daemon

Maybe then you?ll have enough information to figure out the the answers to your two queries.

All of your personal attacks makes it seem as though you actually don’t know that he didn’t write it.

RonMacGuy

jfbiii, stop picking on Bosco.  daemon is looking out for him.  They must work together at Samsung or something!!

wink

jfbiii

Calls me Jack F’in Bauer the third. Complains about personal attacks.

RonMacGuy

Actually, the Jack F’in Bauer the third comment was creative and kind of funny.  Made me chuckle a bit.  But yes, double standards galore around here.

I especially like it when Bosco tells people to “stay classy” and then spews complete garbage from his mouth.  But hey, freedom of speech I guess.

daemon

Calls me Jack F?in Bauer the third.

I consider that a compliment. Have you seen Jack Bauer? He’s pure awesome.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Yeah daemon, that kind of name calling is inappropriate here. Save such awesome compliments for people who half deserve them.

RonMacGuy

Poor Bitter Bosco.  Been so wrong for so long on TMO.  Now’s he’s just bitter.

Find some happiness, dude.  Life’s too short to be so bitter all the time.

RonMacGuy

Been enjoying some old TMO articles from 2010 and 2011.  You seemed so much happier back then Bosco.  Sure, you were as argumentative as you are today, but you used a lot more smiley faces back then!!  Ever since you lost that bet with Bryan about iPad sales volumes you just don’t smile anymore.  Just so mean about poor Florian.  Why you gotta be so mean?

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