Tech Lawsuit Roundup: October 1 – 5, 2012


Here is a summary of legal developments in five federal and state court cases last week that involved technology companies, or alleged activities by their users.

Samsung Cries Foul, Claiming Jury Foreman in Apple iPhone $1B+ Lawsuit Was Biased

In a motion filed last Tuesday, Samsung’s lawyers asked U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh to set aside the jury’s $1.05 billion iPhone lawsuit verdict in favor of Apple. They alleged that jury foreman and retired computer engineer Velvin Hogan failed to disclose that his former Silicon Valley employer Seagate Technology Inc. sued him in 1993, despite being asked by the judge whether he had been involved in any lawsuits.

A lawyer for Samsung, Susan R. Estrich, claims in her court filing that “Hogan’s failure to reveal his litigation with Seagate during voire dire and its impact on the integrity of the trial and the verdict” were compromised.

Google Settles ‘Library Project’ Book Scanning Litigation With Publishers

On Thursday, Google and a consortium of publishers announced their settlement of their seven-year long litigation over Google’s ‘Library Project,’ a concerted effort by the tech company to digitally scan every book and make them available online.

According to the American Association of Publishers, Google will “acknowledge the rights and interests of copyright-holders,” while U.S. publishers can also decide whether “to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project.”

Class-Actions Over Facebook IPO and NASDAQ Consolidated in New York Federal Court

On Thursday, a panel of seven federal judges who oversee multidistrict litigation (MDL) consolidated investor class-action lawsuits brought against Facebook and NASDAQ over the social media company’s IPO day debacle.

A list of 41 securities class-action lawsuits that were pending in three separate federal courts are being consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York since, the court held, “related circumstances and common discovery . . . warrant [their] centralization.”

Guilty Plea in $13M Facebook, Groupon Securities and Wire Fraud Case

A Florida resident and former Chairman of the Advisory Board of a mutual fund pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a variety of criminal charges in a $13 million conspiracy to defraud investors by falsely stating that the fund privately owned pre-IPO Facebook and Groupon shares before each of the social media start-ups went public.

John A. Mattera will be sentenced in February 2012, and faces up to decades in prison for his guilty plea to engaging in securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy.

Judge Rules in Courtney Love’s Lawsuit Alleging Defamation via ex-Lawyer’s Tweet

A California judge ruled last week that Courtney Love’s daughter cannot testify in her mother’s defamation case against Rhonda J. Holmes, Love’s former lawyer, concluding that Frances Bean Cobain lacked relevant knowledge related to her Mom’s defamation claims via Twitter.

If the lawsuit is not resolved before a trial, this could be the first case in the United States alleging defamation by tweet to actually go before a jury. Ms. Cobain, the daughter of Love and deceased rocker Kurt Cobain, has publicly stated that Twitter should ban my mother.”