Larry Ellison's latest job: jury foreman

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Larry Ellison is famous for wanting to be in charge, so perhaps it is no surprise that when jury duty came calling, Oracle's <ORCL.O> chief executive served as the foreman.

And for a woman who slipped in diesel fuel at a Northern California Ford dealership, Ellison's public service may have helped her secure a judgment for nearly $500,000.

In running Oracle, the world's number one business database provider, Ellison has proven a willing plaintiff. Oracle sued SAP AG <SAPG.DE> for copyright infringement and won a $1.3 billion verdict last year. SAP is challenging the outcome.

Oracle is also engaged in a fight against Google <GOOG.O> over patents for the Java programing language. A trial could come as early as October.

But it was a far less complex legal matter that took Ellison's time last month, landing him in the jury box during earnings season. The flamboyant billionaire sat through a slip-and-fall case brought by Elisa Miramontes and her husband against a dealership in Half Moon Bay, California.

Miramontes said she exited her vehicle and slipped on diesel fuel on the pavement, suffering injuries, according to her lawsuit.

After a few days of trial in a state court in San Mateo County, the jury awarded over $300,000 for medical damages, plus additional economic loss and pain and suffering awards, according to a court filing. The total judgment for the Miramontes couple, formally entered last week, came to just over $472,000, the filing showed.

An attorney representing the defendant declined to discuss the case on Tuesday.

Kevin Sullivan, who represented the couple, said Ellison was an attentive juror who did not try to get out of serving. During voir dire, Ellison revealed that he had sustained some sports injuries, Sullivan said, making the plaintiff's lawyer decide to keep Ellison on the panel.

As for Ellison's thoughts on seeing the legal system from a different vantage point? He declined to comment through an Oracle spokeswoman.

The case in Superior Court for the State of California, County of San Mateo is Elisa Miramontes, Donald Miramontes v. James Ford Inc., CIV 490631.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)