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

10

Nov 2017

Hail to the Jury

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.

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 asked a series of questions online. The results of the survey follow: LAWSUITS VS. CORPORATIONS Percent Agree Plaintiffs often exaggerate their claims in order to increase damage awards 74% Making corporations pay big jury

There is no way to know for sure what percentage of reasons that prospective jurors give for being “unable” to serve on a jury are legitimate. Jury duty is typically viewed as an inconvenience, with individuals being asked to give up their days for anywhere from a day to numerous months. Oftentimes potential jurors are more unwilling to serve than they are unable. Excuses range from the entirely permissible to

Litigants are typically interested in learning about a prospective juror’s political orientation during the jury selection process. This line of thinking is that if one’s general political leaning is deduced then other specific litigation-related attitudes become apparent that reveal insights into how a juror will render a verdict. For example, aren’t Republicans typically tougher on criminals and therefore good for the prosecution? In the civil arena, won’t Democrats be more