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Litigation

: The Florida Jury Selection Blog

Cause Challenges for Caps On Damages and Rising Insurance Rates

By Robert W. Kelley, Esq.

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This week, in Rodriguez v. Lagomasino, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed a defense verdict in an auto accident case because the trial judge failed to strike two questionable jurorsfor cause. During voir dire, prospective Juror Gutierrez said he would not favor either side and would be “in the middle,” but he had also said his wife had beenin an auto accident and his insurance companywas goingdouble his rates. He said he did not know if he could puthis wife’ssituation aside. Another prospective juror, Mr.Hillberry said he thought there should be caps on damages because of all the frivolous lawsuits in our litigious society. Juror Hillberry said he doubtedhis “thoughts” would come into play in this particular case, but he admitted it was possible they could. The Miami trial judge, Daryl Trawick,refused to strike the jurors for causebecause “based upon their responses”he felt“they were rehabilitated.”

The Third District reversed based onFlorida law’swell established“reasonable doubt” standard, and citedNash v. General Motors Corp.734 So. 2d 437 (Fla 3d DCA 1999), “When any reasonable doubt exists as to whether a juror possesses the state of mind necessary to render an impartial verdict based solely on the evidence submtted and the instructions on the law given to her by the court, she should be excused.”

Full post as published by The Florida Jury Selection Blog on January 26, 2008 (boomark / email).

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