Deliberations in Masimo v. Apple trade secrets trial to continue Monday with one fewer juror
The juror asked to be excused because of financial hardship. The judge mentioned two other jurors when saying the jury appeared to be having "personal difficulties."
When jury deliberations begin, most trial watchers share a general hope that the verdict will be quick and concise and we’ll get to cut out of the courthouse in time for a sunny weekend.
Then the jurors remind us they are humans. That’s what happened Friday in the high-stakes trade secrets trial between Masimo Corp. and Apple, Inc.
The Orange County federal jury tasked with deciding Irvine-based Masimo’s $1.8 billion trade secrets claims against the world’s largest technology company will return Monday at 9 a.m. with seven deliberating instead of the original eight after one was excused after deliberations ended about 4 p.m. Friday.
The woman sent a note about 1:30 p.m. asking if she could be excused because she’s missing work.
“I’m having financial problems due to the fact that this has been going on for almost one month and I do have bills as well as other payments due,” the note said, as read aloud by Senior U.S. District Judge James V. Selna.
The note followed Selna telling the jury about 1 p.m. to consider leaving for the day, putting the case out of their heads for the weekend and returning Monday. The judge told the attorneys about 11:30 a.m. that he wanted to do so because the jury appeared to be “having some personal difficulties.”
One had been leaving the deliberation room to pace outside the room. Another had been crying, and it was the juror who said in voir dire she was concerned she’d have difficulty with the complexity of the case but was seated on the jury, anyway.
Selna suggested he allow the jury to eat lunch, then tell them he knows “it’s been a hard week” and to go home for the weekend get the case out of their minds until Monday. Masimo’s and Apple’s lawyers agreed.
Apple’s lawyer Joseph Mueller of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in Boston said the suggest “made good sense.”
“To the extent one of the jurors is not participating, when they resume on Monday, at some point we may ask that the juror be excused. The jurors do need to deliberate,” Mueller said.
“I don’t have any indication of that,” Selna said.
The eight women convened in the jury box about 1 p.m., and the judge told them of a saying floated around mock trials he conducts with middle and high school students: “You’ll find out that being a juror is harder than just sitting in a comfortable chair.”
“And I’m sure you’ll agree with that,” Selna said.
There were chuckles and few grimaces. But when the judge said, “I really do suggest that you give yourselves a break,” jurors were reluctant.
“I think we were doing well with the spot we were at,” one said. One asked for a show of hands for who wanted to continue, but Selna urged them to go into the jury room to decide.
They never returned: Juror #7 sent the note requesting to be excused about 25 minutes later, and Selna called her into the courtroom to ask about her job situation and income. She said she’s a single mother of a 10-year-old son, and she works through an agency that recently placed her in a job that expects her to return to work on Monday.
She first said “I’m not really sure” when asked for her income, then estimated it at “less than $25,000” when pressed.
“I’m not getting paid by the agency or the company,” she said.
She indicated it was possible for her to deliberate Monday, but Selna told the lawyers at the end of the day he’d decided to excuse her.
“I’m kind of amazed that she’s been able to go a month without income,” the judge said. (There are no alternate jurors in civil trials in the Central District of California. Six jurors are needed for a verdict, and judges will seat extras but the extras deliberate and deliberations don’t need to restart if one is excused.)
Selna emphasized that no one should contact the juror until deliberations end after Mueller said “obviously” no one should contact her while the remaining jurors still are deliberating. (Mueller didn’t state his reason for bringing this to the judge’s attention, but I’m betting it has something to do with Masimo CEO Joe Kiani indicating to Re in court that he wants to find the excused juror and help her.) Re agreed that no one should be contacting her until after deliberations.
Jurors began deliberating about 2 p.m. on Wednesday and deliberated for about seven hours on Thursday and another seven on Friday. They heard more than 55 hours of testimony over 3 1/2 weeks, and Masimo’s lawyer Joseph Re of Knobbe Martens LLP in Irvine said in his closing argument that about 220 documents were entered as evidence.
They asked their first question Thursday morning regarding the jury instruction on the statute of limitations, which Apple says Masimo missed but Masimo says it couldn’t have reasonably been expected to meet.
This is the part of the instruction jurors questioned:
Here’s their note with Judge Selna’s answer:
Re began the trial seeking $3.1 billion in unjust enrichment for 12 alleged trade secrets they said Apple misappropriated in its development of the Apple Watch. But Selna on Tuesday granted judgment in Apple’s favor for six alleged trade secrets related to Apple’s business and marketing strategies for the electrocardiogram features in the Apple Watch Series 6 and 7.
The remaining six claims concern Apple’s incorporation of black foam and its use of a specific short circuit into the watch manufacturing process, as well as an approach to modulation that Masimo’s lawyers argue is confidential to Masimo. Masimo also is seeking co-ownership of five Apple patents through the addition of its own employees as co-inventors.
April 27: Jury deliberations begin in Masimo v. Apple trade secrets trial after federal judge slashes claims
April 24: Jury learns of more Masimo hires after Apple’s ‘misleading and incomplete’ testimony
April 20: On tap in the Masimo v. Apple trade secrets trial: Politeness, not pirate flags
April 18: Ex-Masimo execs deny divulging trade secrets as Apple's emails show ‘bad karma’ concerns
April 13: Masimo lawyer's promise dashes Apple's hopes for witness stand appearance by CEO Tim Cook
April 10: 'This is a mess': Masimo trade secrets trial reveals details of Apple Watch development
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