updated 07:05 pm EDT, Fri August 10, 2012
Corrective measures taken, asks court for forgiveness
In another Samsung misstep, an attorney for Samsung-hired Quinn Emanuel has admitted that she wasn't yet allowed to practice law in the court district where an Apple vs. Samsung trial is being held. Susan Estrich, a law professor and Fox New analyst, was questioned early Thursday about her compliance with court regulations on attorney appearances and qualifications, and had until the close of business that day to accept or refute the court's records on her qualifications. She has since applied for and been accepted to practice before the court.
Samsung is under an "evidence spoilation" jury-notification order due to inadequate e-mail retention, after the company allegedly destroyed e-mails after it became aware of imminent litigation. Samsung's custom e-mail solution automatically deletes messages from the server after two weeks, leaving a potential evidentiary hole in the record. Estrich co-filed a "me too" adverse inference counter-motion against Apple, on the grounds that there was no formal order to retain e-mails, despite Apple not having an auto-delete system for company communications.
Estrich is a law professor at the University of Southern California Law School and licensed to practice law in the Central District of California, but had not qualified in the Northern District of California. Grewal noted that admission to the federal bar for the district in which the trial is being held may not be "particularly onerous for one licensed to practice law in the State of California" but also confirms that the requirement is "no mere formality." Estrich has both applied for, and been admitted to, practice before the court in the district, and requests that "the Court not hold these inadvertent omissions on [her] part against the merits of [her] client's case."
Estrich apologized to the court, and emphasized that she always assumed that she was admitted to the Northern District court ever since she joined a local California legal partnership, dissolved since 1986. Quinn Emanuel ordered her on August 4 to "to argue this motion due to the press of trial obligations among other members of the team" and she started preparing without checking her status with the court. She requests that since she's corrected the oversights, that the court should "determine this matter as concluded."
Smartphone patent analyst Florian Mueller believes the court will take into consideration all the matters in the admission and reparations, but there may still be reasons that Judge Lucy Koh, the judge overseeing the case, may still want to sanction Estrich, and by association, Samsung. The judge's orders prior to the case state that "ALL TRIAL LAWYERS must make appearances in this case and must be admitted in this District" with emphasis by Judge Koh. The rules as set forth by the judge could be interpreted as having been willfully broken, given the court's impression of Samsung as "serial offenders as far as the rules governing this case are concerned" according to Mueller.