Juries and insurance, cont’d

by Walter Olson on March 29, 2010

Regarding “That nice Mr. Smith does not have to pay this personally, does he?“, Australian correspondent Malcolm Park writes:

“One of my favorites regarding the jury’s generosity/magnanimity when dealing with someone else’s money is from Fred Shapiro’s Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations (1993) page 106 quoting Samuel P. Sears, ‘In Defense of the Defense’, 25 Insurance Counsel Journal 428 at 429 (1958):

We have a judge in Boston named Donahue, who is indeed brilliant, but a character. A couple of years ago, a jury case was being tried before him, a personal injury case, and the jury sent a note in to him with a question asking if, even though there was not any liability, could they still give the plaintiff some money. The judge sent for the jury. He said to them, “I have your written question, and I assume from the question that you have found there is no liability.” The foreman said, “That is so, Your Honor.” He said, “All right, sign this slip then.”

After they had signed the slip, which directed a verdict for the defendant, he said, “I will now answer your question. You may retire to the jury room and pass the hat.”

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GraniteGrok
03.29.10 at 9:55 pm

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