How A Flawed Jury Selection Process Triggered a New Trial in a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Case
Anytime anyone decides to pursue an injury case in court, they hope to get a fair trial. Laws and rules of procedure are written to guarantee that the parties will receive a fair trial. This is true of the entire process, including parts that occur before the trial, such as jury selection. If your case was tainted by bias, including within the jury selection process, that may allow you to seek a new trial if your original trial ended in an unfavorable outcome. Whether your case is based on medical malpractice, an auto accident injury, premises liability, or something else, you should retain experienced Pennsylvania injury counsel to make sure that your rights are fully protected in your civil trial.
One recent case from western Pennsylvania was an example of a plaintiff successfully obtaining a new trial. The case involved Mendy’s four-year-old daughter, Jillian, who was in a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh to have reconstructive skull surgery. After the surgery, the hospital placed Jillian in an adult bed in the cardiac intensive care unit. At some point, Jillian fell and landed on her head. This fall allegedly caused two skull fractures and required a second surgery to correct. According to the mother’s lawsuit on behalf of the child, Jillian continued suffering from ongoing behavioral problems after the accident.
The case went to trial, and the jury voted, 10-2, in favor of the hospital. When you encounter a verdict that goes against you, the feeling is probably devastating. You should definitely recognize, though, that you may still have options. Your case may have presented various issues allowing for a successful appeal.
It is important to understand what it generally takes to put together a successful appeal in an injury case. The law gives juries (or judges in non-jury trials) broad authority to make determinations related to the factual issues of a trial. It is generally extremely hard to win an appeal when your argument is that ”the jury should have believed my expert instead of the defense expert,” or “the jury should have deemed my testimony to be more credible.” Deciding these things is exactly what the job of a jury is, and appeals courts usually won’t reverse in these cases absent special circumstances.
On the other hand, appeals that focus on the law or the rules of procedure may potentially be more fruitful. The law and the rules cover every step in the process, so any procedural aspect of the trial may give you an opportunity. In Mendy’s case, her legal team attacked the jury selection process. She argued that the judge should have been present during the questioning of potential jurors but was not, and, because of that, impermissible bias entered the trial as a result of the court’s failure to dismiss three possibly biased potential jurors from the pool. In fact, one of these potential jurors admitted that her brother and sister-in-law were doctors and that, if the case was a “close call,” she would favor the medical professionals, yet she was not dismissed for cause.
The failure of the court to remove this woman for cause was harmful to the mother’s case, and that harm meant that she was entitled to a new trial. A new trial means that the case starts over from the beginning, giving you an entirely new opportunity to present your facts and arguments in favor of an award of compensation.
If your child has been injured due to the negligence of someone else, reach out to the skilled Pennsylvania child injury attorneys at Needle Law Firm. Our attorneys have been offering our clients diligent advocacy and intelligent strategies for success for many years.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (570) 344-1266.