Eight Angry Men: Jury Sent Home After Alleged Brawl During Deliberations

200px-12_angry_menIt is not clear what is more interesting the legal problems in the trial over Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax or the alleged assaults occurring in the jury room during deliberations. United States District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan was forced to issue the novel “time out” order this week and send home the eight men and women on the jury after lawyers heard yelling from the jury room and a juror alleged that she had been physically threatened and had a chair thrown at her.

The judge took a conciliatory tone and simply noted “It’s not unusual during jury deliberations that people disagree each other. There seems to be some disagreement here. I’m going to give you a cooling-off period.” Well, yes, it is not unusual for disagreements to occur, but WWF chair scenes?

logo_fosamaxThe five women and three men were deliberating on whether the company was responsible for a severe jaw injury suffered by Shirley Boles, 71.

Timothy O’Brien, the lawyer for Boles has already called for a mistrial — the assumption may be that a long deliberation is favoring the company. Perhaps for the same reason, Paul F. Strain, a lawyer for Merck (yes, Merck’s lawyer in the case is named Mr. Strain), opposed the mistrial by portraying the complaining juror’s account as unreliable and nothing that the other jurors do not support her story. It would seem that the company suspects a possible single holdout in a defense verdict. However, it also raises the question of the viability of the juror composition if one of the jurors is accused of making up such an account. To replace just her with an alternate juror would be controversial if it produced a ruling for the company.

The judge has already indicated that he is moving toward a mistrial unless the jury could reach a consensus. They might first have to put the furniture down.

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3 thoughts on “Eight Angry Men: Jury Sent Home After Alleged Brawl During Deliberations”

  1. They need an instruction that they should not consider it their own personal case, and to focus on the facts and respect another person’s right to disagree or agree.

  2. I would move and make not of the mistrial. When you say brawl, what is meant? Tempers may flare and as they should. I wonder if the brawl is over the issues of the case. At least you know that they are considering the facts. Or at least hope so.

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