Samsung’s Attorney Caught Without License to Practice v. Apple

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Samsung Attorney No License to Practice

One of the U.S. attorneys representing Samsung in its California patent litigation with Apple was not admitted to practice law in the court’s jurisdiction, Samsung and the attorney admitted Thursday. Susan Estrich, a law professor and legal commentator for Fox News, recently represented Samsung in a motion concerning the deletion of relevant emails by both parties despite the fact that she was not licensed to practice law in the Northern District of California, where the trial is taking place.

Judge Koh, the presiding district judge for the litigation, instructed both parties last month that “ALL TRIAL LAWYERS must make appearances in this case and must be admitted in this District” (emphasis in original).

Unfortunately for Samsung, Ms. Estrich was only admitted to practice in the Central District of California, which is primarily the greater Los Angeles area, and not the Northern District, where the trial is taking place.

When the court discovered this rule violation, Samsung replied that Ms. Estrich, in good faith, believed that she was admitted to the Northern District in 1986 when she joined a California law firm which has since dissolved. Samsung told the court that, upon learning she was not admitted, Ms. Estrich “immediately applied for and ha[s] been admitted to practice before the District Court of the Northern District of California, and [has] filed an appearance in this case,” and she hopes that “the Court not [will not] hold these inadvertent omissions on [her] part against the merits of [her] client’s case.”

Ms. Estrich’s failure to  may seem like a minor breach that, by itself, would normally warrant no further action, but it is merely the latest in a long string of ethical, judicial, and procedural violations by Samsung over the course of the litigation.

Susan EstrichAttorney Susan Estrich (via USC)

The court is also aware, however, as FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller states, “of the waves that sanctions against Samsung and a famous American lawyer, political activist, and Fox News commentator could make.” In as much as Samsung and Apple’s fight is a technical patent trial, it is also a trial of public perception and opinion. Delays in filing, releasing information to the press, and merely entering an empty court room are all relatively nebulous topics that are difficult to support or demonize in a mainstream sound bite. They are also topics that can be vulnerable on appeal, should Samsung lose the trial.

A direct, literal rule violation, as existed in Ms. Estrich’s case, is much simpler to understand and is far less likely to be successfully defended on appeal. The court, therefore, might use this opportunity to send a clear message to Samsung: further rule violations will not be tolerated.

The reasons behind Samsung’s continuing missteps are unknown. One theory posits that Samsung is intentionally attempting to anger Judge Koh in the hopes that she will hand down unreasonable sanctions that the company can later use as the basis for overturning any judgement against them.

If true, we should have many more violations of court rules and judicial orders to look forward to. The trial will then become a test of Judge Koh’s, and the legal system’s, patience.

Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The court, therefore, might use this opportunity to send a clear message to Samsung: further rule violations will not be tolerated.

Judge Koh won’t do this(*). She’s already lost control of this thing, and seems to have lost interest as well. My theory on why Samsung’s legal team shows continued contempt for Judge Koh because she is a lightweight and because the Samsung legal team are all known yogurt eaters. They walk with swagger.

P.S. Today is Judge Alsup’s deadline for Oracle to list Florian “the d?mlaut” Mueller as someone they paid to blog about Oracle v. Google in order to influence public opinion (by spewing complete bull excrement, BTW). Since he is an overused TMO “source”, can we get a big disclaimer about him in the masthead?

(*) Readers please note that the last time I said Judge Koh wouldn’t do this, she didn’t do this. That is because she is a lightweight who has already lost control of these proceedings and Samsung’s “strategy” is simply to make that apparent to the jury and make her biases apparent to the jury.


Wow. An ethical violation from someone that’s a Fox news commentator. Now there’s a surprise


Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@geoduck: Ms. Estrich was Michael Dukakis’ campaign manager in 1988.


My theory on why Samsung?s legal team shows continued contempt for Judge Koh because she is a lightweight

Well, someone‘s a lightweight all right, Bosco. Light as a big balloon full of hot air.

Bryan Chaffin

Brad, I think that’s some wishful thinking.

A more likely reading is that Samsung is angling for a mistrial, similar to Microsoft in its antitrust trial. Microsoft’s antics in that trial succeeded in putting the judge on massive tilt, and the company’s attorneys leveraged that to get the remedy thrown out, though they failed to get the verdict tossed.

I personally suspect that Judge Koh is working overtime to make sure that doesn’t happen to this case.

Writing her off as a “lightweight” simply doesn’t match with her record as a jurist.

Who dares

Samsung are the lightweights. They deserve to lose.


Ms. Estrich?s failure to may seem like a minor breach that, by itself, would normally warrant no further action,

Thank goodness there’s no such thing as the three strikes law for minor procedural breaches in court. I mean I guess the judge could overreact and give grounds for a mistrial..

Bryan Chaffin

My apologies for not specifying, daemon: This deal with Ms. Estrich may or may not play into what believe is a deliberate strategy intended to earn a mistrial, etc.

I was (clearly) not suggesting that this one little thing was going to result in a mistrial and was the lynchpin for such a deliberate strategy.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

As I was taking a break from watching golf and doing some yardwork, It dawned on me who you guys are starting to sound like. How did that happen, Bryan?

Bryan Chaffin

I assume that was a poor attempt at a joke, Brad.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, I was misstaken about Alsup’s deadline—it is next Friday—but I’m going to need someone to kick around after that. Rob Enderle seemed like a fine choice if only his opinions matched up with Apple fans. Who knew!

Bryan Chaffin

So if I understand correctly, you’re trying to insult me and other “Apple fans” by comparing us to Rob Enderle, with whom I have seldom agreed, and who is consistently factually wrong.

That’s just weird, man. And kind of sad.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

You really misunderstand, Bryan. Florian Mueller just plays the awkward European guy version of Rob Enderle’s game. Like Rob might invite everyone over for a BBQ and swim party, and Florian would show up in a banana hammock with his gut hanging over and a tramp stamp visible through his back hair.

Where Enderle issues professional looking shiny reports on the industry to prop up his paying clients, Florian fills column-yards of a Blogspot page for his. Yet you know Enderle’s game, and with a court deadline that will completely expose Mueller’s crooked game a week away, he is still the go-to source for any legal process article of interest to Apple fans. How does that work, Bryan? I totally don’t get it.

Bryan Chaffin

My apologies for the misunderstanding, Brad. I should have known better.

I don’t think a comparison between Messrs. Enderle and Mueller is accurate?and I know we disagree on this.

Mr. Enderle is wrong so often on both the facts and his conclusions?but then again if you are basing your conclusions on errors of fact, I suppose you can’t help but be wrong. In addition, time seldom proves him wrong.

Mr. Mueller, though, is seldom wrong on fact and most of his opinions on the Apple/Android battle have been borne out.

I get that you disagree with Mr. Mueller, but I believe your characterizations of him are in error and unnecessary.

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