Constitutional Law

A Juror Walks Into a Bar and Gets a Med-Mal Defense Verdict Reversed by Talking to an Attorney


A juror who walked into a bar after the conclusion of a medical malpractice case and talked to a stranger who happened to be an attorney about his bias against the plaintiffs and insistence on trying the case according to his own rules has managed to achieve the opposite of what he wanted—a new trial in a case that had concluded with a defense verdict.

In a decision that the Oklahoma Supreme Court warns must be very narrowly applied to any future cases, the state’s top bench said it had no choice but to act on what it called “the shocking circumstances of this rogue juror … an absolute factual anomaly that we hope is never to be seen again in Oklahoma jurisprudence,” the Legal Profession Blog reports.

The court emphasized in its opinion (PDF) yesterday that the attorney to whom the juror spoke was not involved in the case and had not sought out the disclosures.

“We caution that we will not permit the holding in this case to be used to manufacture a ground for new trial,” the court wrote, “but we are likewise not hesitant to afford the remedy of new trial free from bias, if such circumstances are ever repeated.”

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