Intellectual Property, Litigators, Litigatrix, Patents, Screw-Ups, Susan Estrich, Technology, Trials

What’s Really at Stake In Apple v. Samsung?

Susan Estrich

CNN Money explains a bizarre controversy-in-the-making surrounding Susan Estrich, a Quinn partner and also a (liberal!) commentator on Fox News. Apparently there is some confusion as to her bar admission:

On Tuesday, according to Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal‘s official court minutes, she and another Quinn lawyer represented Samsung at a hearing about which side deleted what e-mail evidence and when. (Samsung has already been sanctioned for deliberate deletions; it’s trying to hit Apple with the same adverse jury instruction.)

Only trouble is, although Estrich is a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law School, court records do not show that is certified to practice law in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Before anyone jumps the gun, the judge apparently acknowledges that it could be a clerical error, so the firm has a chance respond by the end of the day today. (Foss Patents analyzes the situation more thoroughly.) For what it’s worth, she is registered with the state bar. We reached out to Estrich, who declined to comment. We will post a link to the firm’s response once it is filed, sometime before 5 p.m. Pacific time.

UPDATE (5:09 PM): Estrich just filed a declaration explaining what happened. Turns out that she was not admitted to the Northern District of California, allegedly due to a long-standing oversight. Here’s what her declaration says:

At all times prior to my appearance and argument on August 7, 2012, I believed in good faith that I was admitted to practice before the Northern District of California. The basis of my belief was that when I moved to California in 1986 I joined a law firm and believed that the law firm facilitated and assisted me in complying with the administrative requirements for my admission to the District Courts in the state. In addition to the Central District of California, I am admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the United Stated Supreme Court. That law firm has since dissolved.

Oof! That stinks.

She continues by saying that as soon as she heard about the error yesterday, she “immediately applied” and has been admitted to the Northern District of California. In the two-page document, she thanks the court for calling attention to her “inadvertent oversight,” and she apologizes for the mistake. Estrich asked that the court not hold it against her, and “determine the matter has concluded” because she is now admitted.

All things considered, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but given the delicate nature of this particular case, we’ll have to wait and see how the court responds.

Fun times!

Declaration of Susan R. Estrich In response to the Court’s August 8, 2012 Order [U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California]
Conan Riffs on Apple v. Samsung [WSJ Law Blog]
Apple vs. Samsung: Is It the Trial of the Century? [Yahoo! Finance]
Apple vs. Samsung: The Trial Goes On, but It’s Already Over [Time Techland]
What’s a Fox News celebrity doing in Apple v. Samsung? [CNNMoney]

Earlier: Above the Law Goes to Trial — Dispatch from Apple v. Samsung
The Apple v. Samsung Trial Continues, And John Quinn Keeps Taking Shots
John Quinn Defends His Personal Honor As Apple v. Samsung Trial Gets Crazier

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