OUTLINE OF VOIR DIRE

In a case we recently settled the plaintiff was working in an overhead bucket when he contacted a power line and was seriously injured. Here is the outline I was working on for jury selection. It will give you an idea of the general subjects I like to cover. In this case I intended to concede our client had been distracted and had some responsibility, but under Washington’s pure comparative negligence law the jury must compare that to the knowledge, experience and expert advice the power company had along with the fact they owed the highest degree of care whereas our client owed only ordinary care. The company was fully aware of the work going on around the lines and did nothing to protect against injury or move the line as had been  requested. This is an outline only. The material would have been famed as open ended questions

COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE

  • One of your jobs is to determine if power company  and Mark were negligent
  • If you find both negligent then to determine percentage each at fault
  • If both negligent that doesn’t mean Mark loses case, but damages reduced

Q. Some people think this law unfair others believe must follow the law, which way do you lean if only just a little

  • Concede mark made a mistake on this one day

BURDEN OF PROOF

  • This kind of case: must decide on more probably true then not true
  • True whether talking about negligence or damages
  • You can have doubts, but if more probably true then not all that’s required
  • Expect to prove more than just tipping scales but that’s all that’s required

Q. Some people think this law unfair others believe must follow the law, which way do you lean if only just a little

FOLLOW THE LAW

  • You will take an oath to follow the law.

Q. Some people believe that that do not have to follow a law they disagree with and others feel they must follow the law. Which way do you lean if only a little?

DAMAGES

  • Why we have to talk about harm done:
  • Trial all about harm and damages
  • Jurors job to fix, help and make up for
  • Sympathy not involved
  • Decide money verdict based solely on the harm done and nothing else
  • That’s the law

Q. Some people find that difficult but others feel must follow the law….

TORT REFORM

  • SOME PEOPLE THINK THERE SHOULD BE A LIMIT ON HOW MUCH MONEY A JURY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GIVE. DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY? WHY? TELL ME MORE?
  • WHAT KIND OF AMOUNTS HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT YOU THINK ARE TOO MUCH?
  • What damage verdicts do you think are excessive
  • How do you feel about lawsuits for damages like this one
  • If you were seriously injured due to the negligence of another would you sue? Explain

VALUES & LIFE EXPERIENCE

  • What values you would like to instill in children?  Why important
  • What values or beliefs do you have that might affect your consideration of this kind of case?
  • What life experiences have you had that might assist you in deciding a case like this
  • Is there anything in your life experiences that would bear on a case like this?

COMMUNITY STANDARDS

  • Some people are uncomfortable about making decisions on a jury that might have an effect on the community. Others are OK with it. Which are you closer to
  • Some people feel it is a good thing for jury verdicts have an effect on the community. Others disagree. Which are you closer to
  • Who here would have a problem hearing both sides and deciding which rules you want in this community
  • Some people feel that in a case like this the jury is the guardian of community safety others don’t feel that way. Which way…
  • Would you feel uncomfortable with the jury setting community standards of safety
  • Why would the community have an interest in a case like this

PSYCHOLOGICAL

  • What person do you admire the most

POINTS

  • Important case:
  • Sets standards for power companies
  • May be media interest
  • Mark and wife not present every day

CONCLUSION

  • Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you think we should know about your being a juror in this case?
  • Anyone who thinks it might be difficult for you to serve as a juror in a case like this one
  • You understand I have an obligation to suggest how to arrive at your verdict.
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