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Samsung and Quinn Emanuel Ordered to Pay Over $2 Million for “Patentgate” Disclosure – eDiscovery Case Law

Remember the “patentgate” disclosure last year (by Samsung and their outside counsel firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP) of confidential agreements that Apple had with Nokia?  Did you think they were going to avoid having to pay for that disclosure?  The answer is no.

In a June 20 ruling by California Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal, he began by noting “With the present quiet on the docket, it is easy to forget the long tumult of this case that once reigned. The ceremonial courtroom has cleared. The fire drills of motions on shortened time have ceased. All that remains for now, at least for the undersigned, is the relatively mundane issue of what makes for reasonable fees.

The fees at issue arise from this court’s order awarding sanctions to Apple and Nokia. The sanctions followed the court’s finding that Samsung and Quinn Emanuel were responsible for the unauthorized distribution of Apple and Nokia confidential information. Samsung and QE object to certain of the fees Apple and Nokia now claim, which means the court must wade into the billing entries and make various calls. So, here goes.”

The summary of events related to the inadvertent disclosure by Quinn Emanuel are described here and the details of the sanction applied to Quinn Emanuel are described here.

The question in this order turned to the fees and costs requested by Apple and Nokia.  Section C of the order was titled “With Limited Exceptions, Apple And Nokia’s Requests Have Been Sufficiently Supported To Sustain The Requested Award” and Judge Grewal stated that “in the over four hundred pages of correspondence and billing records submitted for review, the court has identified only 19 records that it finds troubling” (those were entries where partners and senior associates block billed ten or more hours on “drafting,” “preparing” “revising” or paying “attention to” various briefs and were listed in detail, along with the reduced amount after a 20% reduction penalty).

As for the rest of the entries, Judge Grewal commented that “[t]he court notes and appreciates that both Apple and Nokia have applied a series of discounts to their requests already” and ordered that, aside from the noted exceptions “the court finds that the remaining costs and fees requested by Apple and Nokia are reasonable and shall be awarded.  No later than 30 days from this order, Samsung and QE are to pay Nokia a total of $1,145,027.95 and Apple a total of $893,825.77 in fees and costs.” (emphasis added)

So, what do you think? Were those amounts awarded excessive?  Or did Samsung and Quinn Emanual get off lightly?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.