Apple, Samsung Jury Won’t Hear About Missing Evidence

Published on August 21, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Image by Joy of Tech

A moderate victory for Samsung in its closely watched legal battle with Apple.

Ahead of the jury deliberations that will begin this week, Lucy Koh, the judge presiding over the case, agreed not to tell jurors that Samsung failed to preserve evidence that may have been helpful to Apple, effectively tossing the Adverse Inference Jury Instruction the iPhone maker had won from a magistrate judge earlier this summer.

The reason? Apple and Samsung asked her to.

Late last week, Samsung managed to convince Koh that Apple may not have complied with its obligation to preserve relevant evidence, either. So Koh on Sunday overruled the magistrate’s order and replaced it with a new one, ruling that the jury should be told that Apple and Samsung are equally guilty of so-called “evidence spoliation.”

Rather than see that happen, and the integrity of both companies impugned in court, Apple and Samsung proposed that Koh refrain from giving the jury any Adverse Inference instruction at all. And she agreed. No need to burden the jury with dueling instructions that cancel one another out — particularly when they have so much material to wade through already.

Though not a huge win for Samsung, the scrapping of the Adverse Inference instruction is still a victory for the company. It now heads into closing arguments and jury deliberation without that specter of evidence-tampering hovering around it, as does Apple.

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