Apple, Samsung narrowly escape adverse inference instruction

Both companies risked sanctions by failing to preserve email in billion-dollar patent case

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The $1.05 billion award to Apple in its patent infringement case against Samsung made worldwide headlines in August. But only those who closely follow e-discovery issues realized the case involved contentious proceedings over failure to preserve emails and other data that nearly resulted in the jury receiving adverse inference instructions against both companies.

Tables Turned

The next day, Samsung filed its own motion for spoliation, citing Apple’s failure to issue litigation hold notices until April 2011. Grewal denied the motion as untimely. Samsung asked Koh to amend the order. In a stunning turnaround, Koh suggested in an Aug. 21 order that the prior ruling against Samsung had been too harsh. Adverse inferences are “among the most severe sanctions a court can administer,” she wrote, noting that Samsung had produced more than 12 million pages of documents, including upwards of 80,000 emails.

Michael Kozubek

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