I’m back from a jury trial in Prince George’s County that “resolved” yesterday. It was a bifurcated liability only case. My client suffered a leg amputation. Easily one of the best clients and best families we have ever represented. After almost six hours of deliberation, the jury was deadlocked on all four questions presented to them at 3-3. From talking to the jury afterward – all nice people – we could have kept them together for a week and they would not have been able to resolve it.
(How often do we have hung juries? I’ve never had one before. So I asked Google. Apparently, a study by the National Center for State Courts and National Institute of Justice found the overall average hung jury rate was 6.2 percent. I suspect the rate is lower for civil trials because the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard ties up a lot of jurors and many states have more jurors in criminal cases than in civil cases which probably increases the likelihood of a holdout.)
One of my favorite pastimes is reading as much as possible of the Washington Post. With six hours of downtime, I read almost the entire paper yesterday. But if you were to quiz me on what I read, all I would be able to come up with is “Barack Obama and John McCain said they were going to play nice but they are really not.” It is hard to focus when you are expected that jury to knock on the door at any second.
For a Miller & Zois jury verdict with a happier ending, we got a jury verdict in an uninsured motorist case in Anne Arundel County this week.