Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Verdict

Closing arguments concluded Monday, early afternoon. Opposing counsel's closing argument was jaw-dropping, not in a good way. He violated at least three evidentiary orders to which we objected, of course. But despite the judge sustaining our objections, the words had been spoken. It was sneaky and pretty much exemplary of opposing counsel's litigation tactics throughout this case.

Then we sent the jury on their way to deliberate. And they deliberated. And deliberated. And deliberated. They deliberated for so long that it was painful. We were all sent home Monday without a verdict and returned today to more waiting. We had coffee at Starbucks for three hours. Then we went to lunch. Then we walked every inch of downtown that was within the permissible ten minutes from the court house.

Finally, we were called in for the verdict. I was insanely anxious and excited at the same time. But I had also been feeling sick since noon. I felt lightheaded and slightly nauseous and had started to get a weird aching on my upper leg. I was feeling so horrible that I could barely sit at the counsel table. When the jury walked in, I wobbled as I stood for them in unison with the other counsel.

It took almost all my focus and energy to not collapse from lightheadedness during the proceedings. I wish I had been in my right mind so I could have absorbed everything better.

Bottom line: hung jury. The jury verdict needed to be unanimous. And as the judge so eloquently stated, "they are unanimously not unanimous." I whispered to my co-counsel, "what does this mean?!" She whispered back, "mistrial." So, ladies and gentlemen, guess what I will be doing in March? I will be re-trying this case! UGH!

After all that work, it's very disappointing and unsatisfying. I'd rather have the opposing party win on a minor claim than have a hung jury. Such a bummer! When the jury was dismissed and the courtroom cleared out, I was finally able to collapse on a bench in the back of the courtroom while everyone decided what to do with me. Eventually, a nice soul drove me to urgent care where, after two hours of waiting, I was told my diagnosis was "dizziness" and that I probably just needed to drink more water. Ha! I had been drinking water like a fish all week. Totally useless and a waste of my time.

I got home and began to feel worse. I developed right flank pain and increased leg aches that hurt so bad I began to cry. Then, after three hours, it just stopped. I'm suspecting some kind of minor kidney blockage (I had kidney stones with my last pregnancy and the pain was like that except x3).

Now, I'm left sitting in my bed reeling over the jury's decision. When my colleagues questioned one of the jurors he had made a comment that no one had paid attention during the entire trial so they couldn't figure out the facts. Everyone had assumed someone else was taking notes. This just pisses me off. We did all that work for nothing?!

During trial, opposing counsel had made some rude comments to the judge. At one point, opposing counsel asked a question and the judge responded with a comment that opposing counsel is getting paid the big bucks to know this stuff. Opposing counsel responded rudely, "Well, I'm sure you make more than we do." My co-counsel and I just stood there, in disbelief with our mouths wide open.

At another point, opposing counsel emailed his co-counsel to say something rude about us. He cc'ed us on the email- clearly an intended act but he acted like it was unintentional. He had done this several times leading up to trial when he wanted to get under our skin. Except this time, he accidentally cc'ed the judge as well! Unfortunately, he did not get a talking to in court the next day but we felt karma had been served nonetheless.

After all the excitement and the ups and downs and the build up (and let down) of trial, it is going to be SO hard to go back to business as usual tomorrow. Everything I've done for the past six months has been related to this case. From three summary judgment motions, several discovery motions, motions to reconsider, motions in limine, a trial brief, jury instructions, witness prep, legal memos, legal research, and other pre-trial matters; I have lived and breathed this case since February. I forgot what it is like to not work on this case.  I have no clue what I'm going to work on tomorrow!

4 comments:

  1. I know our justice system is imperfect... but the part about no one on the jury taking notes? *facepalm*

    Glad you're feeling better!

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  2. OH MAN, what a letdown! I think anyone would have needed to collapse after all of that anticipation, regardless of their status as Host to Alien Being mooching all energy and nutrients. Glad you're OK, though.

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  3. So frustrating!!! You worked so hard, and in the end nobody paid attention so you have to do it all over again?? Shouldn't the judge have noticed and prodded the jury more? During my one experience on jury duty, we were told repeatedly about the importance of reaching a verdict, and the consequences of not reaching one.

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  4. I'm sorry you'll have to try it again--but it sounds like you had a really good experience overall, a level-headed judge (who knows very well what an asshat OC is), and here's hoping you'll get a good judge next time, too. (Hey, it wasn't a loss!) :)

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