What should a lawyer do when a juror confronts this lawyer in a parking lot and tells him that she cannot start her car?December 12, 2009
In LaChapelle v McLoughlin, 2009 NY Slip Op 09193 (2d Dept. 2009), we learn that the attorney should walk away and do nothing.
During the trial of this action, and after the jury had been discharged for the day, one of the jurors returned to the parking lot to find that her car would not start. The juror then noticed the respondents’ attorney nearby and asked if he could give her car a “jump” start. The attorney properly responded that he was not allowed to talk to the juror, but that he would go into the courthouse and inform a court officer. This was the entire encounter between the two and, in fact, by the time the respondents’ attorney emerged from the building, the juror already had obtained assistance from two other people. After this juror was questioned by the court and the plaintiff’s counsel, and after she assured the court that the “incident” would have no effect on her ability to be fair and impartial, the court concluded that the juror should not be removed from the panel. We agree.