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Magistrate Judge Issues Sanctions Against Quinn Emanuel and Samsung

Samsung and the law firm of Quinn Emanuel were sanctioned by a federal magistrate judge for leaking Apple’s agreements to hundreds across the globe, according to Courthouse News Service.

The ruling was made on Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal after he reviewed hundreds of documents from an expert report that was posted to an FTP site by a junior associate at the law firm.

The report, which had the words, “Highly Confidential, Attorney Eyes Only,” were written on it. The report held details of the agreement between Apple and Nokia. Grewal said that the report was sent to 90 Samsung employees and more than 200 people saw it.

Nokia was suspicious when an in-house lawyer from Samsung recited the agreement between Nokia and Apple during talks with Nokia.



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“Mr. Quinn himself candidly and tellingly described his firm in court as ’650 lawyers wide and 1 lawyer deep,’” Grewal wrote. “In cases of this complexity, relying on such a structure to manage highly confidential information from both parties and non-parties is akin to a trapeze artist flying high without a net: 99.99 percent of the time, no net is required. But in the 0.01 percent of the time when the trapeze fails, the net is not there, and the fall causes much more damage than it otherwise might.”

“The information traded by Apple and Samsung in this case was considered sufficiently valuable by both parties to merit an interlocutory appeal to the Federal Circuit to keep it protected from the public, the vast majority of whom have absolutely no interest in it and no ability to use the information even if they were to discover it,” he continued. “It is sufficiently valuable to merit hundreds and hundreds of pages of sealing motions, with thousands of pages more in supporting declarations. If keeping this information from the public is worth all of that, then surely, logically, it would be worth a second, or even a third, round of review before producing it to a competitor corporation, who would know exactly how to exploit it. Yet this basic precaution was not put in place. Because of this ‘one lawyer deep’ structure, a single inadvertent mistake led to confidential information being widely distributed within Samsung. This is unacceptable.”

Quinn Emanuel made matters worse for itself when it did not alert Apple upon discovering the leak of the information. The firm said it discovered the error in December of 2012 and then in July of 2013, “independently negotiated with Nokia hoping that would make the problem go away.”

“What began as a chorus of loud and certain accusations had died down to aggressive suppositions and inferences, and without anything more, Quinn Emanuel and Samsung cannot reasonably be subject to more punitive sanctions,” Grewal wrote.

Apple and Nokia must be reimbursed for the money spent with litigating the discovery and the judge ordered Quinn Emanuel to remove all copies of the report from the control of Samsung within 14 days.

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