Juror Misconduct Vacates $10M Medical Malpractice Award
After a mistrial was declared midway through the trial, the judge ordered the remaining jurors to deliberate anyway. Why? This would give both parties the sense of a fair figure to work toward in a new settlement round. However, when the jury returned a verdict of $10 million on behalf of the plaintiff, the plaintiff (understandably) filed suit to recover the judgment. However, the judge had already made the decision and would not hear arguments on why the verdict should count. Instead, he remanded the case for retrial.
According to the court, one juror had commented to another juror that she would never take her family to the defendant’s medical center. The motion cited affidavits from four jurors who overheard the offending speech. The comment was made during deliberations. The plaintiffs maintain that there was nothing wrong with the juror making such a comment. However, the court disagreed.
At present, the two sides are battling over whether or not a mistrial should have been declared on the basis of a juror expressing her opinion about a medical center after both sides had made their arguments. If the plaintiff’s attorney did their job properly, it’s unlikely that any of the jurors would want to go to their medical center. Hence, it’s the usual course of events that a juror would be wary of a medical center after hearing arguments in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The notion that a mistrial could be declared on that basis would prevent every trial from moving forward. Hence, the plaintiffs have a point, but the judge declared a mistrial. There’s no way to go back or make him take the mistrial back.
According to the lawsuit, one anti-ambulance-chaser juror decided to rat on another juror after she expressed that she would not take her family to the medical center. This juror informed the court that she was biased and that triggered a mistrial. Several jurors reported that this juror was upset that the other jurors were going the way of the plaintiff. This juror decided to do everything in his power to stop the plaintiff from winning, and the court intervened on this juror’s behalf and granted his request.
It is believed that the judge misheard the arguments and accidentally thought the other juror made derogatory comments.
The plaintiffs have the option of fighting the decision, but it is unlikely to work. Their better option would be to simply retry the case. Courts now have a problem of politically-agitated individuals derailing the process of justice based on prejudices that they heard on television. Ultimately, the court must be more aware of the matter. Not every citizen can fairly render a verdict.
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