The devastating injuries frequently incurred in collisions involving a tractor-trailer often mean staggering medical bills, lifelong supportive care, significant lost wages, and diminished earning potential. The role of the jury in obtaining a full recovery can hardly be overstated, so jury misconduct is a serious issue though the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled prior to trial. In this blog, our personal injury lawyers review a recent $3.5 million trucking accident lawsuit involving serious allegations of jury misconduct. When jurors engage in improper conduct, both sides of a lawsuit might face significant repercussions that might even include the judge ordering a new trial.
In the recent case of Laylock v. TMS Logistics, the plaintiff’s $3.5 million verdict has been jeopardized based on allegations of inappropriate juror actions. The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed a certiorari petition with Florida’s 1st DCA seeking to block juror interviews targeting alleged jury misconduct that the defendant contended warranted a new trial. The 1st DCA allowed the interviews to move forward reasoning that any prejudice to the plaintiff could be resolved on appeal. The jury returned the $3.5 million verdict based on a finding that the defendant was responsible for 95 percent of the damages.
At a hearing several days after the trial verdict, the judge disclosed that a member of the jury contacted him and spoke with the judge’s clerk. The defense also indicated that one of their attorneys was approached outside the courthouse by two jurors who advanced general opinions on the case and details regarding jury deliberations. One of the wayward jurors told the defense counsel several times that the jury had decided not to follow the judge’s jury instructions. Based on these communications, the defendant requested an investigation. The judge agreed to interview one of the jurors over the objections of the plaintiff. The judge found that further interviews were warranted because sufficient evidence had been presented of juror misconduct. The plaintiff filed the writ after the judge ordered more interviews based on the allegation they would cause irreparable harm. The appellate court dismissed the argument that the additional cost, effort, and time involved in prolonging litigation constituted irreparable harm. The court observed that these factors had been previously determined not to constitute irreparable harm by the Florida Supreme Court.
The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the interviews would violate the sanctity of the jury. However, the court noted this decision represented a split with a 2nd DCA decision, so this issue could find its way to Florida’s highest court. Jurors serve an indispensable role in the trial process, but potential misconduct can severely undermine the process. When a new trial must be ordered, the cost of litigation skyrockets for both sides.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence
This decision demonstrates the potential adverse impact when jurors fail to adhere to the instructions of the trial judge or engage in other forms of misconduct. Our Miami trucking accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano will tenaciously pursue the fullest financial compensation. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.