Jury Duty

Twist the truth, slightly

Half a frame shows half the facts

Will jurors notice?


Recently in my life I have had the opportunity to be a juror on two civil cases. I was surprised to be picked as due to a previous job in law enforcement, I always thought lawyers would dismiss me. Perhaps for criminal cases I might not be suitable. But for civil cases I think my years working as an “analyst” makes me a fair minded and thoughtful juror.

The two civil cases were different, yet similar in the area of “liability”.

Three years ago I was on a case which involved the County of LA- Public Defenders office and a client represented by a large law firm. The case lasted three weeks and a verdict was reached unfavorable to the County of LA. The entire trial was focused on whether or not the County of LA should be considered a party to the lawsuit based on a set of facts surrounding a public defender driving to and from work and whether involved in a accident was inclusive to the employers liability. The facts spoke for themselves and none of us agreed on the interpretation of those facts. During this trial I would categorize the courtroom very professional and both sides bringing their very best legal minds. In the end all we determined was that according to the law and instructions provided to us that the County of LA was a liable party due to the way their employee job descriptions were written. Since then, I am sure they have revised those documents.

The most recent case was much smaller and I would say a little less formal. It only lasted one week from start to finish. In this case the plaintiff was filing against a bank for an injury that happened almost four years ago. Keeping an open mind, I really listened carefully to both sides. The evidence really favored the bank and very little supported the plaintiff’s claims for liability. The behavior by the bank’s attorney was annoying and almost pushed me to favor the plaintiff. He went a little too far at trying to paint the plaintiff in a bad light. The reality was that the evidence was lacking and could have been presented without character assassination. The final verdict reached by ten of us – the bank was not liable. At first we were not unanimous but after clearly reading and thinking through the instructions and considering the evidence we had, and not what we wanted or assumed we had, some of us had no choice but concede the plaintiff did not prove the bank was liable. For me it came down to the concept of reasonable care.

As an adult when you visit any place of business, are you acting and controlling your own body and taking reasonable care with any furniture available for use?

Are you using the furniture as intended?

If not, which is completely allowable as a adult, you can decide to misuse something, can you hold someone else liable for your misuse?

Ten out of twelve agree.


Photo from. https://rd2dochazen.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/networked-workers-are-like-citizens-serving-on-jury-duty/