Hospital Seeks New Trial After Facebook Posting By Juror

Cases, Laws

A re-trial in a medical malpractice suit was scheduled after a juror reportedly posted on their Facebook account, “I’m on jury duty. God help me.”

The trial, in Kentucky, commenced after a newborn suffered an irreversible brain injury during birth. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and he lived for just 39 days until the family decided to remove life support.

The first trial rendered a verdict for the newborn’s family in the amount of $1,183,638. However, after the defendants learned about the juror’s Facebook post they sought a new trial/mistrial.

Most jurors receive standard instructions that they are not to use any social media or Internet during the course of the trial. However this was not the first time juror’s have acted inappropriately when serving on the jury.

Earlier this year, one juror was found to have sent a “friend request” to a defendant in a trial. Once the judge learned of the juror’s behavior, he was kicked off the jury. This past December, a murder trial was dismissed after a juror posted that she would like to make contact with defendant after the trial was over.

As I posted last month, The New York ethical rules require lawyers to report to the court any juror misconduct. If a juror posts their views of the case on a social media site and the lawyer becomes aware of the posts, the lawyer has an ethical obligation to notify the court of the juror’s improprieties.

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