Finally finished jury duty on Friday after 7 days!!!! OK, now I can say that the case was about an auto accident — actually three auto accidents each separated by several years — and we had the task of figuring out how much injury the plaintiff sustained in the second accident, separating that from what was sustained from the first and third accidents. It’s probably one of the hardest things a jury could be asked to do.
I have to say that being on the real thing as a juror really opens your eyes on what is really good and really bad lawyering. The defense sweeped on all 7 of the jury questions, with only one juror holding out for the plaintiffs. I never really thought that a closing statement could really make such a difference, but I was shown to be wrong when the defense addressed all of the questions that the jury had in their mind about missing pieces of evidence and totally trashed the plaintiff’s attorney. I wish I could get a transcript — it was brillant.
The plaintiff’s closing was wasted, because he spent all of his time attacking the experts instead of connecting the back problems the plaintiff had to the accident we were asked to examine. He couldn’t explain why he didn’t call the surgeon to the stand in his main case. He badgered the defendant, a kindly old man in his 80’s. To top it all off, he asked for $1.3 million. The best he could do was say that the defense attorney was young, did procedural tricks to keep things away from the jury, and didn’t know the law of evidence. I doubt that the defense was ignorant, because he had a copy of New York’s tome on evidence, Prince, Richardson on Evidence, on the table, and the plaintiffs didn’t.
Quite frankly, for me it was all over when the plaintiff walked off of the stand to show her scars to the jury, and she was able to twist left and right without her cane.
I didn’t know, and I didn’t try to find out until after the trial was over, but the plaintiff’s attorney went to a certain downtown law school in Chicago, and the defense attorney was a 1998 graduate of a certain law school that the writers of this blog are well acquainted with. Goes to show…