Anyone who has ever been a juror in a civil trial probably remembers the judge’s repeated instructions not to talk to anyone about the case prior to deliberations, to avoid communications with parties, witnesses, and attorneys, to report to the bailiff when anyone tries to talk to a juror about the case, to avoid media coverage of the trial, to refrain from doing independent investigation (nope, not even casual Googling), and to base the verdict only on the evidence. The whole point, of course, is to make the trial as fair as possible. But what if a juror goes astray? When can a losing party get relief based on the juror’s misdeeds?
Rule 59 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure sets out nine categories of grounds for a new trial. Among them is Rule 59(a)(2), which in part allows a court to grant a new trial based on “misconduct of the jury.” Yesterday in Town of Beech Mountain v. Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc., the Court of Appeals assessed whether the trial judge should have ordered a new trial where, Continue Reading