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Did your Honor act Unethically in a Medical Malpractice Case in Henry County, Georgia by Failing to Notify Attorneys for all Parties of Communications between the Judge and the Jury? ~ part two


This is a follow up blog post from my other blog post titled, "Did your Honor act Unethically in a Medical Malpractice Case in Henry County, Georgia by Failing to Notify Attorneys for all Parties of Communications between the Judge and the Jury? ~ part one."

Plaintiff's Attorneys are preparing to retry the case based on the notion that even if the Defense appeals the Court of Appeals ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court that the Court will uphold the Court of Appeals Judgement in this matter. A representative of one of the Defense Attorney's has stated that he does not believe that the Judge's actions had any bearing whatsoever on the Jury's verdict and if they have to try the case again that they would get the same result; a Defense verdict, and reiterated that Judge Studdard has a long history, 18 years, of trying Medical Malpractice cases and is very thoughtful, diligent, fair-minded, and conscientious as well.

What makes this case so interesting is that when the Juror contacted the Plaintiff's Attorney she continued to explain that she did not know that the jury did not have to reach an unanimous verdict and that if they didn't that another jury would have the opportunity to hear the case. According to this juror, many members of the jury said that there was no way they would reach a verdict for the Plaintiff so this Juror, and the other Jurors that wanted to grant a Plaintiff's verdict, would never be able to convince them otherwise. She further felt defeated by the Judge's note and felt that she and the others had to give in to the majority.

Often in cases, especially cases of such complexity and that have taken a long time to try and at much expense, such as Medical Malpractice Cases, the Judge will issue what is known in the legal community as the "dynamite charge" in which the Judge will instruct the Jury, in open court, that in effect there has been much time and expense to try the case, and that it is very important for the Jury to try as hard as they must to reach a verdict.

The statements of this Juror, and her misunderstanding of what the Judge wrote in his note, is a prime example of why it is important for the communications with the Jury to be done with all parties and counsel present so it is clear what is expected of a jury. The Jury is such an important part of a case that it is imperative that each Juror understand her and his role. This case illustrates what can happen when a Juror is unclear about the rules.

The case is Phillips v. Harmon, A14A0188, GA Appeals.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we understand the code of Judicial Ethics and are here to make sure that if you have a Medical Malpractice Case, or any type of case that goes to trial, that the case is properly tried. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed, then it is important to Contact Us for your free legal consultation so that you receive the best legal representation that you deserve.

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