Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Jury That Really Did Ask For A Calculator

I am not quite sure what the legal equivalent of urban myth is, but surely the jury that asked for a calculator would have been a prime candidate for that category, whatever it is called. Of course even urban myths often have a foundation in fact, and today's report of a $3 million dollar verdict from a federal district court in Michigan includes the following:

The jury of seven women and one man, though, needed only about four hours to figure out their unanimous verdict, asking U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox first for a calculator after a couple of hours and then for instructions on how to fill out the verdict form.

I can only imagine how it must have felt on the defense side of the table after that request.

The plaintiff was a former state court clerk who alleged she had been fired following the election of a new judge, ironically in the same year she was named Employee of the Year. At least for a few days, before post-trial motions and appeals begin to work their way, Michele Horton can at least contemplate her good fortune:
The award, of which $2 million was for punitive damages, represents what Horton, who had worked at the court for 14 years, would have earned in about six decades of employment.
The two week trial offered a view into the inner workings of a court system, and from the details in the Macomb Daily story, Ex-court clerk wins $3 Million, it was not a very pretty one.

Today's MDV report is the first in awhile, but that reflects more on my lack of posting than the lack of verdicts. A number of MDV posts are still sitting in draft form — hopefully over the holidays I will catch up.


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