Harold McElhinny, feared patent litigator at Morrison & Foerster, was cooling his heels in the East Texas town of Nacogdoches on Wednesday after winning a big patent case in an Eastern District courtroom.
McElhinny and McKool Smith’s Sam Baxter represented Pioneer Corp. and convinced the jury that Samsung willfully infringed on their client’s plasma TV patents. The jury awarded $59.3 million to Pioneer.
“We’re pretty happy about it,” McElhinny told Legal Pad, speaking to us on a cell phone from a Taco Bell in Nacogdoches where he’d ordered four crispy tacos.
McElhinney explained that he was winding down after the trial by “backroadsing” through Texas. He had stopped for a break in Nacadogdoches, which is not only the county seat of Nacogdoches County, but the oldest town in the state.
McElhinny and his MoFo team waited for about four hours at McKool Smith’s office while the jury deliberated yesterday. But they knew they had a good shot. Plus, the jury foreman goes to the same church as McKool’s Baxter, a well-known Texas patent lawyer.
McElhinny explained that during voir dire, when the judge asked whether any of the potential jurors knew any of the lawyers, a woman exclaimed she frequents the same house of worship as Baxter. She explained that she goes to the first Sunday service, while Baxter attends the second, to which Baxter told the court that the first was too early for him. When the judge asked whether the lawyer really went to church, the woman replied that yes, Baxter was a good God-fearing man.
It was unclear why the other side didn’t try to bounce Baxter’s fellow parishioner from the case. Speaking of the other side, Samsung was represented by Baker Botts leading up to trial, but then the company switched to Sidley Austin.
So where do a bunch of out-of-town MoFo lawyers — the team included partners Karen Hagberg, Andrew Monach, Peter Stern, and Taro Isshiki — hang out when trying a case in Marshall? McElhinny recommends the OS2 Restaurant & Pub. The food is good, plus he’s “heard” there’s a good bar and pool tables upstairs.
— Zusha Elinson