Jurors often connect empathetically with the “key players” involved in a lawsuit. For commercial cases, however, this occurs much less frequently. General commercial litigation involves virtually every type of dispute that can arise in the business context, including breach of contract cases, partnership/joint venture disputes, class actions, business torts, civil RICO claims, breach of fiduciary duty allegations, and shareholder issues. It is by far the exception rather than the rule
Kelly Ann Conway was prescient with her introduction of “alternative facts” to American political discourse. But what she really was describing was alternative tracks of syntax. In today’s political environment people seek out and embrace news that fits within their pre-existing firmly rooted overarching political narrative. The news is ubiquitous which means seeking specifically tailored news confirming one’s perspective is always just a click away. News that isn’t tailored to
What happens when civil jurors discuss pain and suffering during deliberations? Certainly the specific facts of the case, including what a plaintiff had to endure, affects the way jurors conceptualize “pain and suffering.” This concept of pain and suffering is well known to lawyers but jurors are given little guidance when asked to award money for this category. Sometimes jurors look to the jury instructions for direction, yet here is
Lawyers are often concerned about what is known as “Jury Contamination” during the selection of jurors. This refers to a potential juror speaking up in open court and saying something that could infect the entire panel with strongly held viewpoints. This comes in many different forms. A prospective juror could say something about how companies usually offer generous settlements to plaintiffs, which is not allowed to be considered by jurors.
I have recently been receiving questions about the prospects of a successful lawsuit against a gun manufacturer or distributor. From a legal standpoint they are dim. There are too many impediments to even getting a case in front of a jury. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, which essentially gives gun manufacturers and dealers immunity from civil litigation when crimes have been
A year ago Trial Methods set out to take the pulse of the public by questioning jury-eligible people across the country about their attitudes pertaining to litigation in 2017. Respondents were from geographically, politically and demographically diverse regions and were asked a series of questions online. The same survey with the same methodology was recently administered to different respondents to see how attitudes have shifted. Also, given the recent spate
A few days ago President Obama was called for jury duty. The panel of prospective jurors he was part of was dismissed before even entering a courtroom. The reason had nothing to do with him being a former President, but was likely due to a settlement or plea bargain on the morning of trial obviating the need for picking a jury. Mr. Obama, along with many other potential jurors, left
For a jury to render a verdict in all federal felony cases and in 48 of the 50 states, the jury of 12 needs to be unanimous. If there is one lone holdout the jury is considered hung and no verdict is reached. The two states not requiring unanimity are Oregon and Louisiana where 10 of 12 is enough to acquit or convict (though Oregon still requires a unanimous vote
Famed actor and comedic celebrity Bill Cosby will be retried on three charges later this year. Last month Judge O’Neill declared a mistrial after jurors said they were unable to come to a unanimous verdict on any of the charges. Cosby, 79, did not testify in his own defense during the trial. One juror said that a retrial would be a “waste of money” because “there is no new evidence.”
1. Each side wants jurors who will form a psychological connection to either Mr. Cosby or Ms. Constand. While demographics alone will not directly predict whether someone starts off favoring one side or the other, the personal characteristics of the key players are noteworthy. It will be interesting to see how each side tries to find and assess jurors who they feel have some overlap with either Cosby or Constand.