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Appeals Court Upholds Verdict After Allegations of Jury Confusion and Gossip Outside of the Jury Room

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A New Jersey appeals court has upheld the verdict of an Ocean City jury despite a possible jury misunderstanding and accusations that one juror called the plaintiff in the personal injury case a liar during discussions outside of the jury room.

The plaintiff in the case sued the driver of a vehicle who allegedly rear-ended her vehicle in 2010 causing the plaintiff to sustain whiplash injuries to her neck. After learning that the jury might not have understood what evidence it was allowed to consider, and that a juror purportedly called her a liar, the plaintiff requested either post-verdict questioning of the jurors or a new trial, but the judge in the case threw out her requests, according to the Law Journal.

The driver of the vehicle that allegedly smashed into the plaintiff’s vehicle conceded liability in 2013 but said that the plaintiff could not prove a permanent injury. The tort option that comes standard in many auto insurance policies restricts an injured party’s right to sue an individual who caused them or their loved ones injury. The victim in this case presented proof in the form of x-rays and MRIs that showed a herniated disc in the neck. The plaintiff also allegedly suffered facet joint system, which produced radiating pain but did not appear on the MRI, according to court documents obtained by the Law Journal. The plaintiff alleges that physical therapy, spinal injections and radio frequency ablation – involving use of an electrical current to reduce pain – did little to help her and that she experiences daily neck pain that worsens when lifting heavy objects, and has trouble sleeping and long-lasting headaches. An expert who testified on the plaintiff’s behalf also said the plaintiff had minimal disc bulging.

The judge in the case instructed the jury that the plaintiff had to prove her claim “through objective, credible, medical evidence” and that “objective proof means the injury must be verified by physical examination or medical testing and cannot be based solely upon the plaintiff’s subjective complaint.” Not long after jury deliberations began, the jury asked whether the evidence of permanent damage was “based on just the herniated/bulging/protruding disc?'” The plaintiff’s lawyer answered “no” while the defendant’s lawyer said “yes” and asked why the jury was asking. Both lawyers agreed to call the jury in and ask them to clarify what information they were seeking, according to the Law Journal.

The jury returned its verdict without receiving the information it requested and determined the plaintiff had failed to prove permanent injury and both lawyers waived polling the jury on the verdict. After the verdict was read, a juror requested to ask the judge some questions but he would only accept written questions or questions from the jury as a whole. The next day, the plaintiff alleges, that same juror called her to apologize for the verdict. The plaintiff claims she requested a new jury because the juror also told her about a second juror calling the plaintiff a liar, and that the situation was discussed outside of the jury room, the Law Journal reported.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Appeals Court Upholds Verdict After Allegations of Jury Confusion and Gossip Outside of the Jury Room was posted on Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 3:31 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Accident Lawsuits, Personal Injury Lawsuits.

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