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Jury Misconduct Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Jury Misconduct. For more information on juries see the pages on Wikipedia.

Jury Misconduct-Cases

2012 Galumbeck v. Lopez, 283 Va. 500, 722 S.E.2d 551.
Interaction between juror and persons who are not on the jury was alleged by defendant, but after inquiry by the Court, the Court was satisfied that the juror explained the actions and mistrial was properly refused.

2001 Norfolk S. Ry. v. Bowles, 261 Va. 21, 539 S.E.2d 727.

In this FELA case, the discrepancy between jury panel list and members of jury panel did not constitute basis for continuance or new trial. In this case, need to reconstitute jury panel was clear, given inability of many potential jurors to report to courthouse due to inclement weather. Railroad in this case did not challenge new jury panel.

1995 Robertson v. Metro Washington Airport Auth., 249 Va. 72, 452 S.E.2d 845.

Jury misconduct.Personal injury action wherein jury was instructed not to discuss case prior to beginning deliberations. Jury note before deliberations indicated that they had discussed case. Court further instructed jury and then allowed trial to proceed. This was not error under the circumstances.

1975 Murphy v. Virginia Carolina Freight Lines, 215 Va. 770, 213 S.E.2d 769.

Jury misconduct.While court strongly disapproves of communication between litigants or witnesses and prospective active jurors, whether occurring before or during trial, trial judge apparently satisfied himself that conversation in question was conceived in innocence and was casual and unconnected with plaintiff’s case.

1974 Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Ward, 214 Va. 543, 202 S.E.2d 877.

Conversation between plaintiff’s wife and juror was ruled non-prejudicial since no mention of case. Conversation was conceived in innocence, was casual and unconnected with case.

1968 State Farm Mut. Ins. Co. v. Futrell, 209 Va. 266, 163 S.E.2d 181.

No error to refuse motion for mistrial where there had been casual conversation between witness and juror. Nor was error found in refusing mistrial where counsel had inadvertently left some notes in jury room, but none of them were seen by jury.

1962 McGuire v. Howard, 203 Va. 965, 128 S.E.2d 281.

Unauthorized viewing of evidence by jury is improper but is not ground for reversal unless verdict was affected. Only slight evidence of prejudice is necessary where mere fact of inspection of evidence, in view of nature of suit, is calculated to influence jury, then prejudice will be presumed.

1961 Harris v. Hampton Rds. Tractor Co., 202 Va. 958, 121 S.E.2d 471.

Jury misconduct.Juror conversed with witness during recess. Private communications between jurors and third parties are forbidden and invalidate verdict unless their harmlessness is made to appear. No harm was shown in this case.

1959 Lilley v. Simmons, 200 Va. 791, 108 S.E.2d 245.

Two jurors allegedly sought information about defendant’s coverage. Motion for new trial denied because jurors denied misconduct and evidence in support of such was vague.

1956 Kearns v. Hall, 197 Va. 736, 91 S.E.2d 648.

Purpose of view of scene of accident is to enable jury to apply testimony given at trial, not to supply evidence. Unauthorized view of scene may be grounds for new trial, especially, as here, the juror took measurements at scene of accident.

1953 Swersky v. Higgins, 194 Va. 983, 76 S.E.2d 200.

Where exhibit that was not admitted is inadvertently taken into jury room but is not viewed by jury, there is no prejudice to either party and thus no grounds for mistrial.

1950 Hinton v. Gallagher, 190 Va. 421, 57 S.E.2d 131.

Reading of document by juror, which has not been introduced into evidence, is ground for mistrial if there is sufficient evidence of prejudice. Only slight evidence of influence or prejudice need be established.

1947 Hickerson v. Burner, 186 Va. 66, 41 S.E.2d 451.

Unauthorized jury views, while jury misconduct, are not grounds for new trial unless it appears that verdict was affected thereby. There need only be slight evidence of influence or prejudice to justify new trial.

1945 Brown v. Wallace, 184 Va. 570, 35 S.E.2d 793.

Where jury members visit scene of accident without authorization yet do not discuss it among themselves and subsequently state to court that such visit did not influence their verdict, then this jury misconduct constitutes no error.



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Jury Misconduct Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

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