Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Okay. Allrgiht. Thank You."

Did the defense attorney's utterance of  these words: Okay. Allright. Thank you, constitute a waiver of his request to have a jury polled following a $1.69 million dollar verdict against a Syracuse hospital in a recent medical malpractice case? 

According to court's reporter Jim O'Hara at the Post-Standard that is in fact the decision of the Appellate court in upholding the million dollar plus verdict for Tina Holstein against Community General Hospital of Syracuse.  What happened is fairly ambiguous both in Mr. O'Hara's story and in the underlying facts.  But apparently after the verdict was read from the bench, the defense attorney asked that the jury be polled to determine if in fact the verdict was the verdict of each juror.  The judge in response to the request said to the defense attorney--each of the jurors signed the verdict form whereupon the 5 magic words were uttered which were construed by the judge to be a waiver of the "polling." 

I'm struck at the judicial scrutiny is given this "waiver" in a civil malpractice case, but the US Supreme Court confronted by repeated insistence upon having a lawyer present during an interrogation can find "a waiver" through lapse of time.  I realize we're talking about "apples and oranges," but it does seem remarkable to me that we bend over backwards for wealthy corporations over something as inconsequential as polling a civil jury following a verdict, but a criminal defendant--whose life and liberty is on the line gets short shrift. 

Well, really I'm not surprised.  You?


  1. a poll, I don't think that it is weird but also there are a lot of money involved and they should be more careful to avoid any hindrances.

  2. not really surprised. Judges often are motivated to moving on and will grab on to any string that can plausibly be interpreted in a favorable way. The Judge clearly should have ensure a more clear response. More judicial BS


  3. To me things happened is fairly ambiguous both in Mr. O'Hara's story and in the underlying facts.

    Andrew Felix