May 29, 2009
New Trial for Unkindest Cut
The Kansas Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision and ordered a new trial in a medical malpractice case. The trial court had granted a motion for new trial to a defendant doctor who was alleged to have negligently performed an adult circumcision. The jury had found the doctor 54% at fault (a delicate calculation, I am sure) and awarded almost $2 million in damages for past, present and future suffering.
The court here found, among other things, that the court of appeals had improperly circumscribed (no pun intended) the authority of counsel to conduct post-trial inteviews with the jurors:
...we conclude the Court of Appeals majority overstepped clear precedent in narrowing the window of opportunity for postverdict communication between counsel and jurors. Under Supreme Court Rule 169, attorneys may discuss a trial with willing jurors after their discharge from jury duty and may do so without seeking permission from the district judge unless contrary orders have been given. In this case, defense counsel and counsel's representative did not err by conducting telephone interviews of jurors after the trial.
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